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Lowland Meadows

peak district landscape

Lowland Meadows

Lowland Meadows (pdf full description) 

Approximate extent – 1,268 ha

Distribution – Widely scattered across the Peak District, with larger expanses as part of grassland mosaics in the limestone dales.

Opportunities and Threats

Extent -  There have been very extensive national losses since the 1930s, with evidence of significant losses in the Peak District continuing into the 1990s.  Since then losses have probably continued at a very much reduced level, partly balanced by some habitat creation.  However, only a small proportion of the habitat present 80 years ago probably still remains.

Condition – Variable.  Probably good in the limestone dales.  Elsewhere surveys between 1995-97 indicated that only 14% of hay meadows were of the highest quality category, with a large proportion being semi-improved to some degree.

Connectivity – Very variable.   Generally excellent in the limestone dales where lowland meadows form part of a mosaic of semi-natural habitat.  Moderate in some areas of the White Peak and South West Peak, where there are concentrations, but many sites are small and isolated.

Climate change risks – Main risk is likely to be unpredictable impacts on farming practices leading to changes in ‘traditional’ management.

Priorities

Continuing vulnerability to loss and fragmented nature mean it is:

High priority to:

  • Maintain the condition of protected sites through appropriate management.
  • Safeguard unprotected sites through agri-environment agreements, regulatory mechanisms and ownership.

Medium priority to:

  • Restore the diversity of semi-improved sites, particularly where expanding on existing sites or where of particular amenity value.

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