National Trust spends £2.15m to save wildlife-rich hay meadows

National Trust spokesman, Jon Stewart, enjoys the new National Trust fields in Stoney Middleton. Photo: Michael Scott/Caters News.
National Trust spokesman, Jon Stewart, enjoys the new National Trust fields in Stoney Middleton. Photo: Michael Scott/Caters News.

The National Trust has purchased 460 acres of farmland in the Peak District in a bid to help wildlife.

A total of 262 acres has been bought at Greensides, near Buxton, in addition to 198 acres at High Fields in Stoney Middleton.

The £2.15 million purchase of the rich hay meadows and wildlife rich grassland is the largest farmland acquisition by the charity since 2016.

It was made possible thanks to legacies left to the trust by its generous supporters.

Jon Stewart, General Manager for the National Trust in the Peak District, said: “Both farms support unusually large areas of hay meadows and flower rich grassland which are not just beautiful to look at, but are important habitats for wild plants and insects in particular.

“This is testament to the generations of farmers that have cared for them, farming them traditionally and in tune with nature.

“While we cannot be certain of the impact of post-Brexit support for farming and land management, we do know the White Peak is an area that could be farmed more intensively; and by buying this land we have the opportunity to conserve and enhance what is there and work with other farmers and land managers to contribute to caring for the wider landscape and ensuring connectivity.”

The first job for the trust will be to put into place a plan for managing the land in the short term. It’s likely the land at High Fields will be grazed by cattle to restore and maintain the rich variety of flora and fauna, and at Greensides there is the potential for more focus on its special hay meadows.