Across the UK, our Partners in Action are working on diverse grassland projects.
Lichfield Cathedral’s commitment as a Partner in Action has seen them adopt an ethical and sustainable framework to guide their policies and practices as they care for God’s creation. The three-year management plan for the cathedral in 2022 includes rewilding part of their one acre of land and leaving an area unmown until early August. Creating new unmown areas has benefitted wildlife and inspired the community, convincing people to put aside an even larger area for Meadow.
Corrymeela is one of the largest Christian conference and reconciliation centres in Northern Ireland. The ten-acre site (pictured below) is a mix of scrub, gardens, wildflower meadows and food-growing areas. The change in the grasslands here is significant; only in the last two years have the edges of the grasslands not been sprayed with chemicals to suppress various weed species, with the result that the margins have now become full of wildflowers. And, since the spraying has stopped, the hedgerows have also shown some signs of improvement, which is excellent for birds and insects.
Nettle Hill, a residential conference and retreat centre in Warwickshire, has been focusing on its seven acres of grassland, which had previously been heavily mowed due to the on-site wedding business. Larger areas of rewilding and wildflower Meadow are now being developed to help wildlife and to encourage the children who use the fields as part of their forest school journey to look after the grass areas. The changes have already benefited the beehives on site: three healthy hives have been seen, an increase from two in 2021.
Lendrick Muir, a Scripture Union Scotland outdoor activity centre, is on 120 acres, about half of which is untamed grassland and woodland. Since becoming a Partner in Action in winter 2021, they have sought to increase the site’s biodiversity, fulfilling the team’s wish to ‘do something more exciting than just “cutting the grass”‘ by developing the site’s fantastic potential for wildlife.
Work on a new meadow has begun by digging the rough grass and sowing yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor) seed. Yellow rattle – this tiny wonder of nature lives a semi-parasitic life by feeding off the nutrients in the roots of nearby grasses. Once seen as an indicator of poor grassland, it’s often used to turn grassland back to meadow – feeding off the vigorous grasses eventually allows more delicate, traditional species to push their way through. Yellow rattle is also the food plant for the larvae of two rare moths, including the grass rivulet. Over the next year or two, there should be a greater range of plants, flowers, insects and butterflies in this area.
Learn more about grassland habitats and how you can help here.