What is a Meadow?

A meadow is a semi-natural habitat that exists due to land management practices. Traditionally, a field is allowed to grow unhindered until it is harvested in late summer and used as forage in the Winter. Livestock would graze the meadow for a few months over the Winter, before the meadow is closed off from livestock grazing at the beginning of the Spring until late Summer in order to boost biodiversity. This low-intensity land management approach supports a species-rich meadow that includes a mixture of soft grasses and wildflowers, and grows higher than fields that are more tightly managed with less biodiversity. The word 'meadow' is used to describe many different types of flower-rich grassy areas that are maintained by careful grazing and/or cutting using traditional scythes or modern-day machinery.
Disappearing Habitat
Flower-rich meadows are key for supporting pollinators and are an important habitat for many species, including the rare Twite. However, in recent times, 97% of flower-rich hay meadows have been lost nationally.
Protecting a Rare Species
In Wales, the Twite can only be found in Nant Ffrancon and Dyffryn Ogwen, at the South-West edge of the Carneddau, where fewer than 15 breeding pairs remain.
Creation of Meadows
In collaboration with landowners and stakeholders, new areas are being identified to create new meadowlands to support an array of wildlife and to provide more nutritious feed for livestock during winter.
What are we doing?

Whilst working with landowners and local communities, we are restoring meadows on the lower slopes of the Carneddau. We are also raising awareness and can provide educational opportunities to learn about the meadows, how to establish and maintain a species-rich meadow, and their importance for wildlife.

To manage meadows, a delicate balance is needed. Too little grazing allows scrub to encroach and coarse grasses outcompete other flora. However, too much grazing causes vegetation to break down and enriching nutrients cannot be absorbed by the land due to high levels of dung, all of which contribute to a declining grassland.

What is the Twite?

The Twite is a small bird, similar to a Brown Finch, but it has a longer tail and stubbier beak. Its back is heavily streaked in a dark brown colour, with white feathers below, and dark-brown streaks on its flanks. The male features a pink rump compared to a female’s brown rump.

The Twite is a rare species, red-listed as a Bird of Conservation Concern in Wales and the UK, and is identified as a species of the highest conservation concern and in need of urgent action.

The South-West Carneddau valleys are key breeding and foraging areas in Spring and Autumn for the Twite population in North Wales. Twite primarily feed on seeds, and meadows can provide a source of food throughout Spring, Summer and early Autumn.

flower rich meadow
Why is this important?

Nearly 7.5 million acres of meadows have been lost since the 1930s. This substantial loss of habitat means that all the species and wildlife these meadows supported have dramatically declined or disappeared.

This lack of flower-rich habitats is a key driver in the decline of pollinator insect populations, which are essential for our ecosystem and which we rely on to pollinate our crops for food production.

How can you get involved?

Check out our Events page for seed collection and tree planting activities.

Check out our Training page for training opportunities in tree identification.

Get in touch via our Contact page to seek advice and support on how to establish and sustain a meadow.

Check out our Events page for seed collection and tree planting activities.

Get in touch via our Contact page to seek advice and support on how to establish and sustain a meadow.

Check out our Training page for training opportunities in tree identification.