Meadows, according to Colin Peacock, are a lot like bread. There are the sort that we see every day from the windows of our cars and trains, bright uniform green (or, in the case of bread, pure uniform white in bags on our supermarket shelves). And then there are the flower-studded grasslands that support a fluttering of moths and butterflies and provide havens and nourishment for charms of goldfinches and flights of skylarks. These are the equivalent of the lovingly hand-made, wholegrain, naturally leavened loaves that sit so temptingly on the wooden shelves of artisan bakers. Wholesome, natural, labour-intensive – and usually expensive.
But there is one important difference between bread and meadows. There is no magic that will turn a large sliced white into a warm and aromatic home-made loaf. But there are ways of turning industrial-level pasture into herb-rich grasslands that will nourish wildlife and feed the cattle that will become the best organic beef. Again there is no magic – just a lot of hard work and the benefits of time. And it, too, is expensive. The Landscape Trust intends to undertake this work – and all kinds of help, practical and financial, will be welcomed.
The full story of how this transformation has been achieved on our existing land – and the plans for the new meadows – is in the Autumn issue of Keer to Kent, due out in mid-November.