Unspoiled meadow is saved thanks to Lottery cash

A WARWICKSHIRE village is celebrating after generous donations from the lottery and residents saved a rare unspoiled meadow.

The Heritage Lottery Fund gave £55,000 to a project called Fostering Our Heritage - The Leys Meadow, Combrook, which has handed over the meadow to the village’s parish council.

Sharing ideas and engaging in events, with advice from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, villagers will foster a diverse range of flowers, butterflies and other wildlife by maintaining The Leys as a traditional hay-meadow.

There will be learning events and activities for children and adults, with talks at the nearby village hall, as well as a history group and arts group using the meadow as a focus.

Parish council chairman Brenda Rayson said: “It’s fantastic.

“We sometimes only really notice lovely things when they have disappeared or 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 with its wildflowers and the butterflies.

“People have been walking in the meadow for at least 200 years. Now it will only get better, both in our lifetime, and for the generations to come.”

Described by experts as ‘calcareous semi-improved grassland’, The Leys is very unusual in this area, and 120 different kinds of plants have been recorded during the past three years. Village groups will help to make the land even more species-friendly by careful management, so that it will attract an even greater number of flowers, butterflies and other creatures into a traditional meadow.

These activities will be linked to a series of events at the village hall, including natural history talks and photographic events for both adults and small children.

Events and meetings will investigate the story of The Leys, and how it fits into the history of the whole area.

A designated webpage on the Combrook website will record and reflect the activities of the project and the findings in terms of wildlife and history.

Displays in the village hall will complement talks and activities throughout the project.

Combrook is located near Wellesbourne and Kineton and has about 60 houses. Its parish plan stipulated that efforts should be made to purchase the meadow if it ever came on the market.