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By IH Wednesday 07 November 2012 Updated: 21/12 08:43
A MEADOW in South Warwickshire has been saved from the bulldozer.
Villagers in Combrook near Kineton have secured a £55,000 Heritage Lottery Fund to save unspoiled Leys Meadow from being put up for sale and possibly targeted by developers.
The Leys Meadow Project was set up to protect the meadow, a now rare traditional hay meadow, which will now pass into the safe-keeping of Combrook Parish Council and looked after for future generations to enjoy.
Buying The Leys was always the aim of the village if it ever came on the market, but with only some 60 houses, the price tag of £70,000 would have been impossible to raise without the lottery grant.
Villagers did however donate money to the project, and will now work with organisations such as Warwickshire Wildlife Trust to maintain The Leys as a traditional hay meadow, and create a habit for a diverse range of flowers - with some 120 already counted in the past three years - together with butterflies and other wildlife.
There are also plans to hold special events for young and old alike, and also research the history of The Leys, including inviting long-standing residents to share their memories of the meadow.
Ridge and furrow ploughing shows the meadow was cultivated in early times, but the number of wild flowers and butterflies indicate chemicals and pesticides have never been used on it.
Combrook Parish Council chairman Brenda Rayson said: ‘It’s fantastic! We sometimes only really notice lovely things when they have disappeared – when they are lost. Thanks to this Heritage Lottery Grant, and the enthusiasm and generosity of those living in the village, people will continue to experience this meadow, the wildflowers, the butterflies.
"People have been walking down this meadow for at least 200 years. Now the meadow will only get better, both in our lifetime, and for the generations to come."
Reyahn King, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, said: “This project will conserve a meadow that villagers have taken to their heart. They now have the opportunity to maintain it in a traditional manner free from the use of chemicals and the fear that it might be built upon. The area’s biodiversity will be enhanced along with the local community’s knowledge of the natural world.”
A webpage on the Combrook website will chart activities of the project. Visit www.combrook-pc.gov.uk for details.
Harvesting the hay. (s)
Getting advice from members of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. (s)
Winter fun at The Leys. (s)
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