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Our Vision

Nature Recovery in our Countryside

Woodmeadow Trust is a pioneering charity taking practical action to address the catastrophic decline in biodiversity in the UK. 

Our first, huge accomplishment was to create our flagship site 'Three Hagges Woodmeadow' near York. 25 acres of inhospitable, arable farmland has been transformed into a flourishing woodmeadow. Here we have created a mosaic of woodland and meadow habitat with plenty of 'messy edge' which is more biodiverse than either woodland or meadow alone. Three Hagges Woodmeadow is now a thriving wildlife habitat, carpeted with wildflowers and an increasing number of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds.

In this fragment of Yorkshire at least, the decline in biodiversity has been halted in a few short years.  Nature is recovering.

The exciting thing is that our experiment in Yorkshire can, and is, being replicated across the UK. This will contribute to the recovery of our native wildlife whilst providing local communities easier access to the joy and beauty of nature.

Our Vision - a woodmeadow in every parish

This is our vision. We want to create a national network of woodmeadows across the UK, inspiring others to establish and care for these rich mosaic habitats. 

Imagine the impact on the natural world if every parish in the country had a patch of woodmeadow. A home for burgeoning numbers of bees, butterflies, beetles, wildflowers, mammals and birds, whilst also providing doorstep access to nature for millions of people.

  • Since 1970, our Ecological Footprint has exceeded the Earth’s rate of regeneration.
  • We lost 97% of our wildflower meadows between 1930s and 1984, 90% of our coppiced woodlands between 1900 and 1970 and 75,000 miles of hedgerow was lost between WW2 and the 1990s

The National Biodiversity Network produced 'State of Nature 2019' reporting that just 9% of English land is covered by woodlands, 13% of species in England are threatened with extinction from Great Britain and 36 plant species have become extinct.

The Living Planet Report (WWF, 2020) acknowledges it is being published at a time of global upheaval, yet its key message is something that has not changed in decades: nature – our life-support system – is declining at a staggering rate.

Woodmeadow Trust strive to contribute towards making up for these losses and hope to inspire others to be part of this change.

Three Hagges Woodmeadow seed mixes

 

The meadows and glades of Three Hagges Woodmeadow have been sown with lowland meadow flora, to replicate the wet and dry meadows that once were so much a part of the rural heritage on the fertile Ouse-Derwent floodplain. Our site-specific meadow mixes (based on MG4 [wet] and MG5 [dry] grassland communities as described in the National Vegetation Classification) form the base of the ecological pyramid that is the feeding and breeding ground for the growing population of insects, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals and birds.

The Whole Ecosystem

We focus on the ecosystem as a whole. We want to ensure that every new woodmeadow includes grassland merging into a graduated woodland edge (a close equivalent to lost hedgerows) with flowering and fruiting shrubs and small trees, ranging through to a high canopy of forest trees.

A particular beauty of woodmeadow is the long pollen and nectar sequence.  Beginning with blackthorn in February, the succession of our native flowering trees and shrubs unfolds through spring and climaxes with the blooming of the meadow in June and early July.

Flowering continues through the summer in the copse areas.  And in late summer and autumn, many species flower for a second time, accompanied by the fruiting of many trees and shrubs.  In the future, as our copses start to provide shade, we will establish a carpet of woodland flowers.

The diversity of flora invites a corresponding increase in invertebrate species.  It is estimated that each different native plant species attracts an average of 4-5 invertebrates.  Some attract many more - for example, 160 different species of invertebrate are known to feed on Birdsfoot Trefoil.

With sympathetic management, woodmeadow produces the structural diversity that provides a haven for a wide range of wildlife, buzzing with insects, alive with birdsong and replete with the wildflowers and grasses they all depend on. 

Our Nursery

 

A nursery area near the Woodmeadow has been set up where seed, primarily of local provenance, is being sown by volunteers and nurtured into mature plants to enhance the site with further species typical of meadow and ancient woodland.

Our Impact

Read about the impact of the Woodmeadow on politicians, conservationists and the wider public in Woodmeadow Voices