2016 was another successful year for the development of Francesca's Meadow on the FSC Preston Montford estate. This success was nationally recognised when it was was runner up in Meadows and Grasslands Awards run by the Magnificent Meadows project. This is testament to the hard work and dedication all of the Friend's of Fancesca's Meadow.
The meadow was established to celebrate the life of local ecologist Francesca Griffith who died in January 2014. The aim was to turn an area of semi-improved grassland at FSC Preston Montford Field Centre into a traditionally managed wild flower rich hay meadow that can be open to the public, as well as involve as many local people in its establishment and management. Work started in the summer of 2014, with the area prepared and locally sourced green hay spread throughout, followed by aftermath grazing with sheep. This was an area dominated by vigorous grasses, but after only one year (in 2015) the meadow results were very promising with a higher diversity of wildflowers and significant amounts of yellow-rattle and eyebright with cowslip in flower for the first time for at least twenty years.
Haymaking at Francescas Meadow
Mike Ashton, from Friends of Francesca’s Meadow, summarises some of the activities that the group has held “Children have enjoyed trying out the baler and throwing green hay at each other! Whilst Masters Degree students from Manchester Metropolitan University have used the meadow as the site for their dissertation projects and A-level students have learned about meadow management and botanical surveying using the meadow as a source of inspiration
There will be a celebration of the award on Saturday 28th January from 1-4pm at FSC Preston Montford contact [email protected] if you would like to come along.