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.
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.