Cumbria

'Exceptionally rare' Cumbria meadows to open to public

Bowerhead Farm Image copyright Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Image caption The farm was transferred to Cumbria Wildlife Trust in lieu of inheritance tax

"Exceptionally rare" wildflower meadows in Cumbria will be protected and open to visitors, after being gifted to the Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

Bowberhead Farm near Kirkby Stephen dates back to the 17th Century and its land is home to more than 90 different wildflower species, which support a range of insects, animals and birds.

The trust aims to create a nature reserve with a visitor centre.

It also hopes to "breathe new life" into the listed farm buildings.

Image copyright Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Image caption The meadows are home to plants such as the melancholy thistle

The farm was transferred to the trust in lieu of inheritance tax, as part of the settlement of the estate of the naturalist and scientist Juliet Frankland who died in 2013.

The trust describes it as an exceptionally rare example of a special type of flower-rich hay meadow, which is only found in the north of England and southern Scotland.

Such meadows are rare because many have been lost through intensive agriculture and the use of chemicals.

Image copyright Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Image caption The land is home to more than 90 different wildflower species

Stephen Trotter, chief executive of Cumbria Wildlife Trust said: "It's no exaggeration to say these types of meadow are the most vulnerable of all habitats in our county.

"So we are thrilled to take on the task of looking after and protecting this precious part of our living heritage for the future."

Image copyright Philip Precey
Image caption Great burnet is one of the native plants

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