Royal seal of approval for Dales’ meadows

Wildflower meadows in the Yorkshire Dales have been selected among some 60 ‘Coronation Meadows’ across the UK as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations of The Queen’s coronation.

Hay meadows at Muker in Swaledale have been chosen as the official Coronation Meadows site in North Yorkshire following nomination by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, a charity involved in the protection and restoration of wildflower meadows across the Dales and the Forest of Bowland.

The coronation scheme was launched at Highgrove earlier this month by The Prince of Wales.

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The initiative is part of a campaign to save Britain’s wildflower grasslands. Britain is understood to have lost 97 per cent of its wildflower meadows since the 1930s as a result of more intensive farming.

The scheme aims to identify a species-rich meadow in every county that will be used as a ‘donor’ site to provide seed to restore nearby degraded meadows in an effort to conserve the local characteristics of grasslands in each region and the wide range of wildlife they are able to support.

Prince Charles said: “My Coronation Meadows idea came to me when I read Plantlife’s 2012 report and fully appreciated just how many wildflower meadows had been lost over the past 60 years.

“This year, we are celebrating my mother’s coronation so surely there is no better moment to end this destruction and to stimulate a new mood to protect our remaining meadows and to use them as springboards for the restoration of other sites and the creation of new meadows across the UK.”

The Coronation Meadows in Muker form part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest. They are owned by William and Carole Raw, and Kathleen Raw and David Hill, and are among the best upland hay meadows in the Dales.