HRH The Prince of Wales visited The Green Park, one of London’s eight Royal Parks today (6 September 2016) to help create the 90th new Coronation Meadow. The new meadow is to be named ‘The Queen’s Meadow’ to honour the Queen in her 90th birthday year.
Plantlife, a plant conservation charity, published a report in 2012 highlighting the loss of wildflowers in the UK since the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. In the foreword, the charity’s patron, HRH The Prince of Wales called for the creation of new flower meadows in every county to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Coronation, and so in 2013 the Coronation Meadows project was born. Since then 90 new wildflower meadows have been created across the UK, totalling 1000 acres.
Since the Second World War, the UK is reported to have lost over 97% of its wildflower meadows with only tiny fragments of these ancient meadows still around.
Seed from these ancient meadows have been used to create new Coronation Meadows, thus preserving the unique character and identity of the originals. For The Green Park, the seed has been sourced from the West Sussex Coronation Meadow as the sites share similar soil conditions. In addition local children collected yellow rattle seed from the meadow in Hyde Park, another of London’s eight Royal Parks.
The meadow in Green Park, which is located near to the Bomber Command Memorial, has been prepared by scarification using a set of harrows pulled by Shire Horses, Aragon and Royale. The Royal Parks have been using Shire Horses to sustainably manage parkland since 1993. Their duties in the Royal Parks include mowing, road verge cutting, rolling bracken to preserve grassland and chain harrowing bridleways and paddocks.
Mike Turner, Assistant Park Manager of Green Park and St James’s Park, said:
“Meadows are host to a large range of wildflower and grass species, and in turn provide nectar and food source for invertebrates.
“As outlined in The Royal Parks pollinator strategy the creation of meadows is one of our key objectives so we are both delighted and honoured to have The Queen’s Meadow here in The Green Park.
“The addition of yellow rattle seed from Hyde Park will help the meadow flourish as they possess roots that reduce the vigour of meadow grasses, giving other wildflowers space to grow.”
Dan Merrett, Coronation Meadows Project Manager said:
“With the Coronation Meadows project being initiated by HRH The Prince of Wales to mark the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s coronation and with over 1000 acres of meadow now restored through the project it is fitting that for the 60th county, the 90th new meadow will be sown on the doorstep of Buckingham Palace in the splendour of the Green Park.
“Across the UK conservation organisations, landowners and volunteers have been answering the Prince’s clarion call to help reverse the loss of meadows from our countryside and The Royal Parks have now joined that list with what will be an inspiring example of a thriving meadow in the very heart of London.”
The project is a partnership between Plantlife, the Wildlife Trusts and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.