An area at Yoxter army training camp in the Mendips has been selected as Somerset’s ‘Coronation Meadow’, marking 60 years since the coronation of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
Somerset’s Coronation Meadow is located at Chancellor’s Farm, part of a military training area, owned by Wessex Reserve Forces & Cadets Association, who have been working with Somerset Wildlife Trust to help preserve traditional wild meadows and grassland quintessential to the essence of the English countryside.
Wessex RFCA has been working with SWT for over ten years with the hope of preserving these areas after statistics showed that only 3% of England’s original flower rich meadows and grassland remain untouched.
The visual appearance of the farm has remained virtually unchanged for centuries and the meadows are an unusual mixture of lime-rich, neutral and acidic areas which consequently support a wide range of species.
Brigadier Tony Dalby-Welsh, Chief Executive at the Wessex RFCA, said: “The land at Yoxter is used for basic tactical exercises by regular soldiers, Reservists and Cadets and it is our desire to see the estate managed sensitively in a way that is beneficial to the environment.
“These soldiers and cadets make use of the land for on-foot tactics training as well as having access to the eight lane shooting range where they practice their weapon handling skills.
“The partnership that we have had with Somerset Wildlife Trust for the last ten years has worked well and we believe will bring benefits to both parties.
“I am of course delighted to have the opportunity to bathe in the reflected glory that is the choice of Chancellor’s Farm as the Somerset Coronation Meadow,” he added.
“I look forward to the future, conscious of the need to try and ensure that these meadows are not compromised by an inadvertent influx of armoured vehicles!”
Wessex RFCA are also funding and facilitating the refurbishment of the buildings on the farm for the use of SWT.
A spokesman for Somerset Wildlife Trust said: “The Coronation Meadows Project is led by Plantlife, The Wildlife Trusts and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
“Against stiff competition in Somerset we proposed that Chancellor’s Farm be put forward for this accolade which marks is as one of, if not the best wildflower meadow in Somerset, and I am delighted to say that it has been chosen as a ‘Coronation Meadow’
“The project aims to identify one flagship wildflower meadow – a Coronation Meadow – in each county of England and Wales, and a wide range of sites in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“These meadows, many of which will have existed since the coronation in 1953, will be used as ‘source meadows’ to provide seed for the restoration of new meadows in the same county.”