Trail highlights importance of Teesdale's traditional hay meadows
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
A NEW meadow trail in Barnard Castle was fittingly launched on last month’s National Meadow Day.
A variety of events took place on the day, kicking off with the launch at The Witham. Volunteer meadow expert Neil Diment was on hand to answer questions at the event. He said: “In terms of numbers, we had about 30 turn up for the actual meadow interpretation trail launch.
“And we had about ten for the guided walk in the afternoon – not bad seeing as we were competing with England vs Sweden in the World Cup.”
During the event ecologist Rachel Clarke led a minibeast adventure to learn more about the insects that make meadows their home and craft activities inspired by what can be found in a meadow.
Later leading botanist Dr Margret Bradshaw and town councillor Roger Peat, who were instrumental in forming a hay meadow on the upper Demesnes, led a guided walk to take a closer look at the project.
Mr Diment said: “Flower-rich meadows are increasingly rare and threatened. It’s staggering to think that over 97 per cent of our meadows that existed in the 1930s have since been lost – that’s a loss of 7.5 million acres of wild flower grassland. As a result, many of our most iconic meadow flowers are now under threat throughout in England.
“Here in Teesdale, with our own even rarer type of upland hay meadows, the threat is even greater.”
The upper Demesnes restoration project was started about eight years ago.