Wildflower meadows are an important part of the cultural heritage of Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and they support a wide range of native plants and animals. The AONB team are keen to increase the number, quality and connectivity of species-rich grassland habitat within the AONB and a range of activities will take place this year including the first wildflower survey of all roadside verges in the AONB, surveys of 60 hectares of meadow habitat and an invitation to local people to create a visual record of which species flower in their local verges.
The roadside verge survey will be completed between April and June and is being undertaken by experienced volunteers. The purpose of the verge survey is to record the location of verges with a high number and variety of wildflowers and any sites that could potentially be restored to full bloom. This information can then be used to inform North Yorkshire County Council of special verges in the AONB and to target potential verges for management by teams of local volunteers.
The hay meadow survey is needed to support a hay meadow restoration project within Nidderdale AONB which will continue until 2015. Between 2012 and 2015 the AONB hopes to restore 80 hectares of species rich hay meadow in over 50 fields. Hay meadow habitat will be restored using seed sourced from local meadows which have been traditionally managed and retain a high number and variety of wildflowers. Using locally sourced seed ensures that the species mix is appropriate to recreate the local habitat type and ensures that funding is retained within the local community.
To complement the verge and meadow survey work, the Friends of Nidderdale AONB invite anyone who is interested in recording and illustrating wildflowers in verges near where they live in the AONB, to help bring together a record of which species flower this year. This recording can be in photographs, drawings, paintings, or a written record based on a flower key. There is no restriction on size or content and drawings can be based on a single flower, plant or group of plants or a verge side view! A display of the visual recordings will be held at the Nidderdale Agricultural Society Show in September and contributions should be sent to the AONB Office (The Old Workhouse, King Street, Pateley Bridge, Harrogate, HG3 5LE) by 1st September. If you would like your work to be returned please mark it clearly with your name and contact details.
Ted Flexman, Friends of Nidderdale AONB Trustee said, "Our verges and meadows contain a valuable remnant of what was once more widely spread and it is hoped the work planned for 2012 will help many people appreciate what we have, value the variety and we hope enjoy what grows freely in places throughout our Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty!"
If you would like more information on any of the above initiatives, please contact Kelly Harmar at the AONB Office on 01423 556035 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org