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Minding The Meadowlands

Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust's Hay Time Project hopes to save important hay meadows

Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) is a small charity doing big things to help support the landscape, environment, communities and economy of the beautiful Yorkshire Dales.

The financial support of players of People's Postcode Lottery, which so far totals £601,332, enables the charity to make a real difference across the area, with projects including education and outreach, habitat conservation and restoration, support for inspirational community initiatives, and apprenticeship schemes for young people.

This summer, YDMT has been working with farmers and landowners on the award-winning Hay Time Project in a bid to save our wildflower meadows, and the wealth of native wildlife species that they support, before it's too late.

Over the last fifty years, 97% of wildflower hay meadows in the UK have been lost, making them one of our most threatened habitats.

YDMT's work has kick-started the restoration process in more than 500 hectares of degraded meadowland since 2006, improving biodiversity and playing a key role in protecting nationally declining wildflowers such as Wood Crane's-bill and endangered invertebrates like the moss carder bee.

David Sharrod, Director of YDMT, said, "Thanks to players' support, we have already far exceeded our original meadow restoration aims, making significant progress in halting the loss of this precious habitat. We've also been working hard to raise awareness of the plight of meadows and the need for urgent action. People have been learning how to identify and record wildflower and bumblebee species, and many now use their new knowledge to help us with important annual surveys.

"We're also helping to inspire the next generation of nature-lovers through our work with local schools. None of this would be possible without the support of players of People's Postcode Lottery – thank you!"

In July, People's Postcode Lottery met YDMT and pupils from nearby Bentham Primary School in the spectacular wildflower meadows of Colt Park – a site from which YDMT has sustainably sourced seed to help re-introduce wildflower species into nearby meadows. The children learned why these meadows are so special and interviewed a local farmer to discover their link to the food they eat.

YDMT's Hay Time Appeal ambassador Chris Myers was also there. He said, "I feel very lucky to have grown up with the stunning wildflower hay meadows of the Yorkshire Dales right on my doorstep. This natural beauty has provided the inspiration for much of my work as a garden designer, and I think it's important that we safeguard these habitats for future generations to enjoy. I'd like to thank players of People's Postcode Lottery for supporting YDMT's work to save our iconic meadows."

You can find out more about YDMT's progress at the Hay Time Appeal website.

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TV presenter Chris Myers and pupils from Bentham Primary School celebrate players' award to YDMT