Glorious Grasslands is protecting and restoring an important but often neglected aspect of the South West Peak; species diverse hay meadows. While these fascinating natural features might be overlooked as part of the background they are in fact an irreplaceable part of the complex natural systems that allow many different species of plants and animals to thrive. Grasslands also allow farm businesses to thrive by providing food for livestock and improving drought resistance.
This project is focusing on 3 key areas in the South West Peak, which is a hot spot for the remaining concentrations of grasslands in the country. These areas are already species-rich and as such they are excellent candidates for strengthening and expanding grasslands that are at risk nationally.
As well as surveying and helping farmers to maintain and restore traditional hay meadows, the project is also identifying grasslands of importance for rare fungi communities, known as ‘waxcap grasslands’. With additional funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, we are building a picture of the importance of these, often brightly coloured, fungi within the grassland community. We have found several traditionally managed farms supporting internationally and nationally important fungi communities.
Learn about the Glorious Grasslands of the South West Peak
The Cheshire hills are home to communities of fungal species which are grassland specialists. These communities can be valuable indicators of ancient grassland. Also, like their grassland habitat, they are threatened by improvement, disturbance, or cessation of management.