More than 97% of meadows have been destroyed, but the fight is now on to restore them. They are essential for plants and insects – but is it wise to lose food-producing fields?
On a perfect summer day, the bees drone and a million flowers dance as a dozen people move across the meadow, cutting hay with a rhythmic swish of scythes. As children play, the haymakers pause for refreshments of cake and cider.
This would resemble a scene from a long-lost rural idyll if the scythes were not Austrian carbon-steel and the children were not identifying flowers on smartphones. After a century in which more than 97% of Britain’s wildflower-rich meadows were destroyed, meadowland is making a comeback.