We need your help now to save Morningside Farm Meadows

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With its abundance of wildflowers, Morningside Farm near Royal Wootton Bassett is a national treasure.  In summer the fields are ablaze with colour and the air is filled with wildflower perfume.  There is a wealth of butterflies, crickets and pollinating insects, while birds nest in the mature hedgerows. 

Sadly, these amazing wildflower meadows are now at risk of being permanently damaged or destroyed.

Despite their national importance, the meadows at Morningside Farm have no legal protection.  They have been put on sale and advertised as suitable for activities that could ruin them forever.  

We could not let this happen!  Guided by the District Valuer, we submitted an offer of £451,000.  Happily, our offer has been accepted.  We have until the end of November to raise the necessary 10% deposit and fees, enabling us to exchange contracts. 

We urgently need to raise £50,000.  Please, can you help?

Once we have exchanged contracts we will then have two years to raise the rest of the money. We will be applying for grants including the lottery and landfill tax community funds, as well as working with the local community and holding fundraising events.  Most funders now require their grants to be matched with donations from our members and supporters.  So any donation you make will also unlock other funds.

 

Why should we acquire this land?

Meadows like those at Morningside Farm have taken hundreds of years to develop, but they can be ruined in an instant.  Over 98% of the UK’s meadows have been damaged or destroyed over the past 70 years and many of the species associated with this historic landscape have become rare or endangered.  Across the whole of Britain, there is just 1,500 ha of meadows like these remaining.  Their protection is a conservation priority.

Extensive areas of Great Burnet and drifts of Betony, Ladies Bedstraw, Birds foot Trefoil, Meadow Sweet, Meadow Cranesbill, and Knapweed are found at Morningside Meadows.

The purchase of these fields will ensure that they are protected and that they will be managed for nature so that they can be enjoyed by future generations.

Enhanced public access and activities

Morningside Farm can be easily reached along footpaths from Royal Wootton Bassett and Swindon.  There are two public footpaths crossing the site and there is a towpath along the Wilts & Berks Canal that runs through the site.  There is a small parking area near to the canal bridge on Chaddington Lane.  Some of the paths around the site will be improved and we will provide information about the conservation importance of the farm and wildlife to look out for.

We will encourage local volunteers to become involved in managing the site and will offer training opportunities and activities, including the biological recording of species.

The farm is ideally placed for school visits and we will create resources and provide opportunities to study meadow management, grassland habitats, species and the role of pollinators, as well as the various Forest School activities.

How much land is for sale?

See the full scale of the land on Google Maps

There are 60 acres (30 ha) for sale.  This comprises five fields and some dilapidated agricultural buildings.   One of the fields is currently used for horse grazing, but two of the fields are of very high wildlife interest.  Green hay from these fields will be used to make the wildlife interest on the other two fields even better; a technique we have used successfully on other meadows.  

Please help us now

This fabulous site is under threat and we need to act fast to protect it.  We urgently need your help to pay the deposit and show funders that we can raise the necessary match-funding required.

Visit the appeal on our website to make a donation.

Thank you.