The Glorious Grasslands project ran from March 2017 to April 2022 and focused on 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 focused 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.
Glorious Grasslands Final Report
Glorious Grasslands Project Photos
An album of photographs showing many of the activities and some of the grassland species in the project area.
Glorious Grasslands Case Study 1: High Ash Farm
High Ash Farm is at Barrowmoor, near Longnor. The project has influenced grassland management and helped to diversify the rush pasture. The site also benefited from the Slowing the Flow project with re-meandering sections of the brook, creating a wide buffer zone of grassland and a series of scrapes in the rush pasture for waders.
Glorious Grasslands Case Study 2: Cowlow Pastures
Cowlow Pastures is near Hulme End, along the Manifold Way. This grassland site is 1.98 hectares, part of the Warslow Moors Estate. Wildflower seed was introduced onto five plots that were strimmed, scarified and seeded in the field.
Glorious Grasslands Fungi Report
This reports on findings that 500 hectares of grassland with fungi interest in the South West Peak area, including: 24 sites of international importance,
12 of national importance, 13 of regional importance for waxcaps and 28 sites of national importance for other fungi.
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.