On Sunday 1st July volunteer leaders from green space groups across the Tees Valley attended our workshop “Caring for urban meadows – in the long term.”
With the loss of traditional meadows in the countryside, creating and caring for urban meadows has become popular. However people are often disappointed by the long term results and there is much confusion on what a meadow is, and how they differ from the colourful sown “meadows” of annual flowers.Perennial wild flower/grass meadows are complex habitats to create and manage. Every meadow is different, both in space and time. For them to make a long term contribution to biodiversity, sensitive sustainable monitoring and management is needed.
The workshop was divided into an indoor morning session, followed by local site visits. Martin Allen gave a background to the day and covered: What is a rural “meadow”, why and how did they form and were traditionally managed? Characteristics of Tees Valley meadows.
You can download a copy of the Power Point here Middlesbrough meadows day 2018 history Martin Allen
This was followed by Sue Antrobus covering Urban meadows – reality verses expectations, some common pitfalls and enhancement vs creation.
You can download a copy of the Power Point here meadows workshop 2018
In the afternoon we visited three different meadows in Middlesbrough which have very different histories and characteristics and discuss how general principles can be adapted and applied to different urban sites.
Bluebell Beck – We looked at a relic of a rural meadow that has become encapsulated by suburban Middlesbrough. Part of the meadow is designated as a Local Wildlife Site on the basis of its grassland flora. We explored the meadow community, and how it varies across the site. We discussed the challenges in maintaining it.
Fairy Dell Park – We visited an area of the formal park where the Friends of Fairy Dell have been working to enhance an area of what was once mown amenity grassland. We looked at the results and discuss how this was achieved.
Berwick Hills – We looked at a meadow that was created from stretch over a decade ago on an abandoned allotment site through the Middlesbrough Wildspace project. We used old photographs to look at how the wildflower communities has developed over the years and what the future holds for the site.
Information on the three sites can be downloaded here The three meadows
Here are some reference sites for information on meadows
Sources of seed