Orchid-rich Meadows Return to 15 Sites in Birmingham and the Black Country

Friday 5th July 2013

This July an ambitious project is bringing idyllic countryside wildflower meadows back to 15 sites in Birmingham and the Black Country.

Sites such as a former airstrip where spitfires once took off from Castle Vale are now launching a new network of orchid-rich hay meadows to encourage flying of a different type – creating habitat for bees and butterflies.

This is part of the exciting work being carried out through the Birmingham and Black Country Nature Improvement Area led by The Wildlife Trust.

Programme manager, Simon Atkinson, says: “This is a fantastic project that’s helping to return urban sites to their former glory as beautiful hay meadows with flowers such as native orchids, which many people don’t realise can grow wild in our area.

“We’ve lost 97% of our wildflower meadows in this country, so for us to be putting a network back into Birmingham and the Black Country is a huge achievement and will really help declining species of bees and butterflies to get around and be able to find food. We couldn’t achieve this without all the brilliant partner organisations who are helping to spread the word and get people involved.”

Hay is being brought from nearby “donor sites” where there are established and ancient meadows with a rich mix of wildflowers. The hay from these will then be strewn on sites on several different dates in July, and volunteers are being sought to help with this manual task.

With so many communities keen to rediscover lost natural treasures, the Nature Improvement Area is finding its second year even more fruitful than the first, which already won high praise for the amount of work it achieved and the way it engaged partners.

Tagged with: Living Landscapes, Birmingham, Black country, Hay, NIA, Orchids, Wildflower meadows

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