Highlands & Islands

'Bumper year' for wildflowers of Scotland

A bee pollinating thistles on a stormy day Image copyright NTS
Image caption A bee pollinating flowers on a stormy day

The National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has said 2016 has been a bumper year for wildflowers in rare and endangered Scottish lowland meadows.

The charity has worked with tenant farmers and countryside rangers to create new meadows and conserve older, established sites.

Meadows that flourished this year included those at Falkland Palace in Fife and St Abb's Head in the Borders.

Also, Glasgow's Greenbank Garden and Balmacara at Kyle of Lochalsh.

NTS said other sites where wildflowers had thrived were Kittochside in East Kilbride and Venniehill at Gatehouse of Fleet.

Image copyright NTS
Image caption Bulbous buttercups at Kittochside Meadow
Image copyright NTS
Image caption Wildflowers at Kittochside Meadow

Since World War II, 95% of UK lowland meadows have disappeared, the trust said.

It has been using traditional meadow management methods to protect areas of wildflowers and grasses at properties it owns.

NTS's nature conservation adviser, Lindsay Mackinlay, who has been photographing the meadows, said: "Many people have donated precious funds and time towards creating and conserving the meadows on the trust's land, so it was great this year to take a rain check and photograph them.

Image copyright NTS
Image caption Flowers self-heal and clover at NTS property The Pineapple near Airth, Falkirk

"The brilliant news is that many of our meadows had a great year for wild flowers and were buzzing with insect life.

"These meadows are often oases in areas where wildlife is hanging on by its fingernails.

"We have to thank our meadow conservation volunteers who worked in the middle of winter to control invading gorse, as well as Hebridean sheep who helpfully munch thick grass, and the trust staff who manage the meadows so carefully."

Image copyright NTS
Image caption Meadow at Falkland Palace
Image copyright NTS
Image caption NTS said 2016 had been a bumper year for wildlfowers

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