A £42,000 project to restore and enhance the beauty of 44 hectares of Nidderdale grassland is already making significant progress.
The Friends of Nidderdale AONB’s Pollinator Pathway Project launched last year thanks to a grant from the Biffa Award, and has created a lot of interest and conversation among residents about how their favourite landscapes can be best protected.
The Nidderdale AONB Biodiversity Project Officer, Kelly Harmar, said: “We have made a brilliant start - we have already covered 27 hectares, which is over half of the area we needed to restore.
“We have got three sites to restore this year, and we have already restored one of them, which is a meadow in High Birstwith.
“We are delighted with how well the seeding work has gone over the past two years and look forward to following the progress of each meadow as the new seed germinates and flourishes.
“It is a fantastic project, and it’s a joy to spend so much time in such beautiful areas restoring them.”
The group has worked hard to address growing concerns from members that changes in farming practice have led to a decline in species rich lowland meadow.
The project concentrates on the southern half of the Nidderdale AONB, and plans to create a network of sites characterised by their beautiful wildflowers using locally harvested seed, commercial seed and plug plants and also add rarer species to existing wild flower meadows.
The Chair of Friends of Nidderdale AONB, Heather Garnett, said, “It’s great to see how interested local people are in this project. People learning about hay meadows at our events are enthusiastically seeking ways of encouraging more pollinators in their gardens or other areas of land. We plan to invite them to see some of the improved meadows next summer.”
The Biffa Award Head of Grants, Gillian French, said: “Biffa Award funding will help restore this important grassland and bring in rarer species of wildflower. We are pleased to be able to support Friends of Nidderdale AONB to secure a healthy future for pollinators.”
The Friends of Nidderdale AONB are exploring ideas for public events to celebrate the work done on the meadows.