Grasslands and meadows

Species rich grasslands and meadows are a valuable habitat for plants and wildlife but are an increasingly scarce sight in Nidderdale AONB.

  • Upland calcareous grassland grows on the small areas of carboniferous limestone. It is species rich and dominated by fine-leaved grasses.
  • Calaminarian grasslands grow on the waste from the once extensive lead-mining industry. The spoil heaps support a very specialised heavy metal-tolerant range of plant species such as alpine pennycress and spring sandwort along with rare lichens and mosses.
  • Magnesian limestone grassland grows on outcrops of Permian-era limestone or dolomite laid down 225 million years ago. They contain a unique range of plant and invertebrate species, including over 13 nationally-scarce plants and 84 nationally-scarce invertebrates.
  • Flower-rich meadows stir memories of childhood visits to fields awash with colour and alive with insects. But over the last fifty years approximately 97% of meadows in the UK have been lost, largely due to modern, intensive farming methods. Although an increasingly rare sight, there are still some excellent meadows in the AONB.

What are we doing to help conserve the AONB's grasslands and meadows?

  • working with landowners to restore meadows through the hay meadow project
  • running events for the general public about the rich plants and wildlife of our meadows
  • training volunteers to help us survey and monitor meadows in the AONB

What can you do to protect the AONB's grasslands and meadows?

  • landowners can contact us and find out how you can get involved in the hay meadow project
  • come on an event and find out more about the AONB's meadows