Britain has lost some 97% of its wildflower meadows in the last 80 years, since major changes in farming practices became widespread. Those that remain are some of the most biodiverse and species rich habitats in the UK. Wildlflower meadows are permanent grasslands (not based on chalk) that traditionally were cut for hay before being grazed by livestock. This fine book covers the history of the wildflower meadow, and the decline after mechanisation. In the 19th Century, before internal combustion and oil, much of the British economy was hay driven, and some 4.5 million tons were produced each year. Now, with mechanisation, fertiliser, insecticide and industrial farming, we are forced to legislate to protect the few remaining wildflower meadows. The book includes a guide to many of the grasses, flowers, orchids, butterflies, caterpillars and insects. Top book - We really like this book, and recommend it to anyone interested in the UKs wildlife. Will suit - Non hay fever sufferers. --WildlifeExtra.com
The quality of the text and the extraordinary photography by John Pilkington make these sections as compelling to the amateur naturalist as to the professional… A timely book and an utterly captivating one. --The Lady Magazine, 2012
About the Author
Dr. Margaret Pilkington is an Emeritus Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Community Engagement, University of Sussex. Her interest in meadows grew out of using the local countryside as a laboratory for teaching science and gained particular impetus with the publication of the National Vegetation Classification system in the 1990s. Dr. John Pilkington has a Ph.D. in Zoology from London University, and lectured in the Dept of Zoology at Otago University, NZ.