Re-creating meadows in Thanet

Re-creating meadows in Thanet

Kent Wildlife Trust’s Big Lottery funded three year project, Painting The Town Green is currently working with the local community in Newington near Ramsgate to invigorate the green spaces at St Christopher Church. Anna Morell, who works with the Project, visited the community to see what they are going wild about in early Summer.

As you approach St Christopher Church, Newington in Thanet, you pass houses set back on wide roads, fat green meadow strips running down the middle of them. Whole greens, trimmed short. Still home to a host of mini-beasts, but with the potential to be home to so many more.

We have lost 97% of our meadows since World War Two. That’s an astonishing statistic. The chance to lose a few minutes, or even a day, lying nestled in grass taller than head height, warm, dusty, dry earth beneath your head, listening to the rustle of endless green around your ears, eyes at bug level, saturated in colours bursting like floral fireworks as tiny beetles and crickets scurry and jump around you, is harder and harder to find.

Meadows are filled with magical little creatures that up close, look other worldly (maybe because they are. How many do you actively let live in your day to day environment without raising the bug spray or fly swat?)

So why don’t we put away the strimmers and let our grasses grow? Anti-social behaviour, messy aesthetics, free-flying weed seeds and dog poo are often cited as barriers to allowing mini meadows to flourish in more urban areas. But St Christopher Church has taken a different view.

In mid-May, its community turned out in force to listen to Neil Coombs, a Senior Land Management Advisor with Kent Wildlife Trust, who discussed the wonders and benefits of meadowlands.

After, armed with rakes and sand, the group set about scarifying a patch of land in the grounds – a process of scraping up the earth and making its quality poorer (meadow flowers need poor quality soil to thrive) before scattering seeds mixed with sand for a show of wild colour later this summer, just like this one.

It’s hard work, scarifying, but satisfying. Especially when you know that the diversity of flowers and insects will increase and grow year after year (we scattered 26 varieties of bee and butterfly-friendly meadow flowers), and that there is a little more wild beauty just around the corner in your local community.

To find out more about the project, which is running in communities in Medway, Swale and Thanet, take a look here.