Today’s image for Creation Time evokes the timeless pastoral tranquillity of the traditional meadow. I took this photograph in the Isle of Wight on a balmy sunny day in mid-May ( my 55th birthday as it happens!). The ox-eye daisies were spread across the field like icing on a cake.
Meadows in Britain are grasslands which are managed on an annual cycle according to traditional practices which allow them to develop over time increasing the number and variety of wildflowers. There are different types of meadows and ways of managing them, according to their situation and climate.The field depicted here would likely have been allowed to grow without grazing through Spring and early Summer, cut once for hay in July and grazed by livestock after that.
Meadows are vital havens for important pollinating insects.
Until the 1930s every community in Britain would have had its meadows. Now because of the intensification of agriculture it’s reckoned that only 2% remains of the meadowland we once had. The good news is that there are more and more conservation charities and projects working hard to reverse this trend. Local authorities are recognising the opportunity provided by highway verges and roundabouts to develop meadow-like habitats.
Local churches across Britain have played an important role in recent years with some 6000 churches now managing their churchyards under the principles of the “Living Churchyard” project. Areas of the churchyard are maintained as sacred ecosystems without pesticides or burning and the grass cut once a year. In this way local flora and fauna are provided with an increasingly rare suitable habitat, and visitors enjoy the carpet of wildflowers in early Summer. My own church of Wokingham (All Saints) manages its churchyard on this basis as part of its commitment to the environment as a recognised eco- congregation.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.” Psalm 23