Cumbria Crack

Craven schools inspired by wildflower meadows

Kettlewell Primary School pupils study their mini-meadow

[N]early 300 children from seven schools in Craven have been looking after a patch of wildflower meadow – as part of a project culminating this week at the Grassington Festival.

The schools each took delivery of two square metres of meadow turf, sourced from a firm in Helmsley, in April.  The mini-meadows soon began to bloom with flowers such as ragged robin and pink campion, inspiring lessons in biology, art and history.  The children monitored the meadows with help from visiting Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) staff and volunteers as well as local artist Helen Peyton.

All seven mini-meadows are now being collected from the schools and will be planted in Grassington Town Square for the start of the festival on Friday 15 June.

The project has been run jointly by the YDNPA and the Grassington Festival and has benefitted from a £2,500 grant from the Arts Council.  A total of 282 children took part from the following schools:  The Boyle and Petyt Primary School in Beamsley; Threshfield Primary School; Brooklands Community Special School; and the four schools of the Upper Wharfedale Primary Federation – Burnsall, Cracoe & Rylstone, Grassington and Kettlewell.

YDNPA Education and Events Manager, Catherine Kemp, said:  “The Dales are known and loved for flower-rich hay meadows, but such meadows have become scarce nationally.  It’s vital that local children know this story so that they can get involved in the conservation of these precious habitats.

“All the children drew sketches of the wildflowers.  Helen Peyton helped the children make prints from their sketches and will create artwork from these sketches which celebrates the beauty of the meadows and also acts as a memorial to the experiences of local people during the First World War. It will be well worth coming to Grassington during the festival to see it.”

A guided ‘family meadow walk’ will take around Grassington on Saturday 16 June. Places can be booked on the Grassington Festival website.

After the festival, the turf will be taken from the town square and planted in the garden at Colvend, the YDNPA offices in Grassington.

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