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Seeding the meadow with the help of a Nikwax Environmental Grant!

This month’s guest blog is courtesy of Dr Emma Edwards-Jones, whose community in Snowdonia received a Nikwax grant to make a dedicated flower meadow.

Each year, Nikwax looks to make available small grants for community projects which focus on the environment. A little bit can go a long way and Nikwax strives to help those persons or projects which need a little bit of help, to get their plans underway. Nikwax wants everybody to understand and appreciate the natural world that is out there and look to help protect ecosystems, encourage conservation and environmental responsibility to all. If there is a project you feel may benefit from a Nikwax small grant then you can find the information HERE.

We are a small group of friends and dog owners who live in Llanberis, North Wales and we confess that up until a couple of years ago we suffered from a little known complaint called ‘plant blindness’. Every day while walking our dogs through a local field next to Llyn Padarn (Padarn Lake), we gazed at the mountains, lake and castle and were transfixed by the beautiful landscape of Snowdonia. Then the ponies and sheep that grazed the field were moved away and an amazing botanical transformation began.

The following spring wild flowers began to tentatively show themselves and our attention was caught by the splendour beneath our feet and the seed of an idea was sown; could Cae’r Ddôl become a community meadow?

We formed ourselves into a community group called the Friends of Cae’r Ddôl (which means ‘meadow field’ in Welsh) to see if we could help the meadow and its flowers work their magic on local residents and visitors. In 2016 with the support of Kew Garden’s Grow Wild Fund and with the permission of landowners, Gwynedd Council, we took our first steps in meadow management and in 2017 with Grow Wild’s continued support we are beginning to see our efforts rewarded with flowers and insects and smiling faces.

The future of Cae’r Ddôl is reliant on an annual cutting regime which helps the wildflowers hold their own with the beautiful but greedier grasses. So we are delighted to receive a Nikwax Environmental grant which will enable us to cut the meadow in spring and autumn 2019. We are also planning to put in some railway sleeper crossing points for some of the wet patches, to stop them spreading as people try to keep their feet dry. So what with this and some community events (probably a bat walk and moth trapping evening) we are going to be busy.

We will be reporting back regularly on our progress, but in the meantime we thought you might like to see one of our projects last year – a meadow in a phone box! This film documents the fun we had with local children bringing the meadow onto Llanberis High Street. It certainly got people talking and the children not only learnt about the flowers, they also propagated them, and got to grips with the basics of botanical drawing. What better way to tackle ‘plant blindness’!