Sowing the Seeds

Olive sowing wildflower seeds in the Brendon Hills

Your donations will help us to restore, create and link species-rich grassland on Exmoor.

We are now working with 59 landowners, managers, and community groups to restore, rejuvenate, and create wildflower meadows across over 325 hectares of Exmoor. Our Sowing the Seeds project officer Lucy Cornwall has been busy undertaking soil and botanical surveys to monitor the success of seeds sown, as well as assessing how best to create more meadows. Donations to CareMoor have supported our purchase of a straw chopper and salt spreader and trailer, all essential for this work.

In 2024, we’ll be setting up a wildflower nursery to grow more plants and become a community growing hub. This will be an important resource for propagating meadow plant species such as devils-bit scabious, which benefits from nursery propagation.

Donations will continue to help us work with communities across Exmoor to create and restore species-rich grasslands and inspire an appreciation of our valuable meadow habitats. Every £10 donated will help us create and manage 10m2 of wildflower meadow.

If you’d like to make a donation to support this exciting and worthwhile project, then you can DONATE DIRECT TO THE APPPEAL ONLINE HERE.

Send a gift card

You can send a specially designed Greetings Card and Certificate of Donation to the Sowing the Seeds Appeal, by visiting one of our National Park Centres or using our online shop. See the links below for details and images of the cards.

If you’d like to discuss your donation with us, please email caremoor@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk

Meadows attract a multitude of wildlife and often support flora and fauna that cannot thrive in other habitats. Typically characterised by species such as black knapweed, ox-eye daisy, yellow rattle, hawkbits, vetches and rarer orchids, they can also support colourful waxcap fungi with names such as parrot, snowy and crimson. In addition to being aesthetically beautiful, they are ecologically important as they provide areas for pollinating insects, nesting, food gathering, shelter and even animal courtship displays.   Flower-rich meadows can also be historically important, part of our local rich heritage and their enjoyment can contribute to our own wellbeing.

Like other ecosystems, meadows experience increased pressure due to climate change, especially as precipitation and weather conditions change. However, grasslands and meadows also have an important climate change mitigation potential as carbon sinks; deep-rooted grasses store a substantial amount of carbon in soil.

The loss of wildflower meadows, botanically richer than any other habitat, has been staggering; 97% have been lost since the 1930s. 75% of remaining meadows occur in small fragments and remain vulnerable to destruction.  Over the last 30 years we have seen the drastic decline of meadows and species rich grassland on Exmoor which has also affected the populations of important species, such as pollinators, that are dependent on them. It is estimated that Exmoor has only 2500ha of flower-rich meadow remaining…….we want to change that.

The Exmoor Sowing the Seeds project is a major collaboration between Exmoor National Park Authority, FWAGSW, Devon Wildlife Trust, South West Water and others. CareMoor donations continue to support this project.

In 2021-2, we were delighted to be able to carry out essential vegetation surveys, harvest 30kgs of seed and provide seed to 5 landowners to restore over 11 acres of meadow.  We also funded the harvesting of 4 acres of green hay to restore nearly 4 acres of meadow on a neighbouring farm. We purchased a seed harvester that is now available for us to use and loan to landowners around Exmoor to help them create new meadows. We grew 100 ox-eye daisy plug plants, secured black knapweed and devils bit scabious seed ready for growing in 2023,  harvested 110Kg of seeds from 3.5 hectares, supplied seeds to 14 sites and restored 22 hectares of meadow.

During 2023, we carried out soil and botanical surveys and worked with 59 landowners, managers and community groups to restore, rejuvenate, and create wildflower meadows across over 325 hectares of Exmoor. Donations to CareMoor supported our purchase of a straw chopper and salt spreader for our trailer, all essential for this work. We’re collaborating with the National Trust to skills share on meadow creation techniques and we ran plant identification workshops. We also ran sessions with school groups at our Pinkery Centre for Outdoor Learning. Pupils from a local primary school have assisted us in planting seeds for a new meadow area in their playground.

In 2024, we’ll be setting up a wildflower nursery to grow more plants and become a community growing hub. This will be an important resource for propagating meadow plant species such as devils-bit scabious, which benefits from nursery propagation.

We’ve been working with the National Trust to skills share on meadow creation techniques and have run two workshops for our meadow owners and the general public on plant identification skills, and have run events to engage people with meadows. The project officer has been involved in meadow creation at a local primary school where pupils assisted in planting, and we have run a session on meadows with two local school groups at Pinkery outdoor education centre and look forward to more work with school groups in the future.

Would you like to help, learn more or become a donor site?

We would love to hear from anyone interested in meadow creation, at any scale, and also from people with existing flower-rich meadows who might be interested in becoming a donor site. Please contact us at naturerecovery@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk.