Sixty meadows to be created across the UK to mark Coronation anniversary
By Sarah Cosgrove Wednesday, 05 June 2013
The sites of 60 wildflower meadows have been identified across the UK to mark the six decades of Queen Elizabeth's rule.
The 60 will be part of a project to recreate some of the 97 per cent of meadows lost since the 1930s, led by HRH The Prince of Wales and the Plantlife charity in partnership with the Wildlife Trusts and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
Eventually it is hoped that every county in the UK will have a 'Coronation meadow' and these will seed further meadows in each county.
Speaking on BBC’s Today programme on Wednesday morning Plantlife chief executive Victoria Chester said wildflower meadows were "a vital source of colour, a vital source of nectar, pollen and medicine" which filled people’s hearts with joy.
She said that farmers used to put sick animals in wildflower fields full of herbs and plants with medicinal properties to recover.
She added: "I think wildflower meadows are critical to our emotional wellbeing. They lift our hearts and give one hope they are the iconic beauty of the UK."
Many of the meadows were lost during World War Two when spare land was turned to food production but since then economic and agricultural policies, especially the drive for cheap food and growing efficiency had exacerbated the decline.
Chester said the loss was "absolutely shattering" and said if the same thing had happened to our woodlands it would be a national crisis.
"HRH The Prince of Wales has really taken the initiative and we hope we can start to turn this round."
Chester admitted that it would cost £700 per acre on average to maintain the meadows. Traditional farming methods are also key to the meadows’ survival.
The project comes out of a 2012 Plantlife report, Our Vanishing Flora, which highlighted the loss wild flowers from individual British counties since the Coronation.
In his forward, Plantlife's patron, HRH The Prince of Wales called for the creation of new wild flower meadows, at least one in every county, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Coronation.
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