Think of a Meadow…

14 September 2012

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Knoydart, Scotland. Copyright © Jim Manthorpe/John Muir Trust.Knoydart, Scotland. Copyright © Jim Manthorpe/John Muir Trust.

I asked 5 colleagues what came to mind when I said ‘think of a meadow’ – and got 5 different answers.

One described a corner of the Hidden Gardens, an award-winning urban community project near the centre Glasgow. Another thought of Steall Meadow at the head of Glen Nevis, nestling in the shadow of the Ben and fed by Britain’s second highest waterfall, accessible via the wild, wooded, precipitous Steall Gorge path. Coastal machair was another interpretation, rich in colour and biodiversity. Traditional agricultural meadows were offered as a further perspective, and finally a town centre roundabout, resplendent in poppy, cornflower and forget-me-nots after being subjected to a bout of nocturnal guerrilla gardening.

Copyright © The Hidden Gardens, Glasgow.

The John Muir Trust looks after some of the finest wild landscapes in Britain and works to improve a range of habitats including native woodland, peat bog, and meadow. The Trust encourages people from all walks of life to connect with the natural world, particularly through its educational initiative the John Muir Award, which is used by families, groups and individuals from all corners of the UK to discover a wild place, and enjoy and care for it. Many of these people engage with meadows and over 74,000m2 of meadow land was raked, seeded and maintained as part of the ‘Conserve’ challenge of the Award in 2011.

One square metre can nurture more than 30 species of wildflower. As havens for insects, butterflies, rodents and birdlife, they also offer great scope for getting involved in survey work (check out OPAL Bugs Count – over half a million counted so far!). And for inspiring images and provocative thinking on heaths, farmland and urban greenspace, 2020VISION is well worth a look.

Spring’s the perfect time to (re)acquaint yourself with the marvels of a meadow – whether in the hubbub of a city or in the tranquillity of a remote landscape.


Post by Rob Bushby, John Muir Trust. This blog was posted in April, 2012 as part of our Gardens month.


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