Coronation Meadows is launched!
As I tuned in to BBC Breakfast on the morning of June 5th, the launch day of the Coronation Meadows project, it was thrilling to see the weather presenter Carol Kirkwood broadcasting live from the wildflower meadow at Highgrove, and a great relief as she reported the fantastic weather due that day. It set the scene for what was to be a royally beautiful day in the Cotswolds countryside.
By early afternoon we were there ourselves at Highgrove and while our guests were being guided through the stunning gardens, the gentle thudding sound of a helicopter grew ever closer. As it circled above the estate we knew our host had arrived and anticipation grew. This intimate gathering, in the grounds of the HRH The Prince of Wales' home, welcomed owners, managers and representatives of the first 60 Coronation Meadows along with special guests and those from Plantlife, The Wildlife Trusts and the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
Gathered on the cobbles of the Stable Yard, Pimms in hand, awaiting the imminent arrival of HRH, you really got the sense that you were part of something very special.
Chatting to meadow owners, it was wonderful to hear of the history, heritage and character of these 'jewels in the crown'; Mrs Lord, the owner of Hayton Meadow in Shropshire, which is more than a century old, describes her meadow as ' a bit of magic in the world' - she was married in the year of the Queen's Coronation. To our young 'meadow makers' the day was an exciting opportunity to meet HRH Prince Charles, sample many of the chocolate brownies and of course to have the day off school!
Our keen eyes were on the gate in the wall, through which HRH emerged to join the reception. Our contingent of Scottish meadow owners had sensibly gathered in the shade nearby and suddenly found themselves amongst the first to be introduced to the Prince. He spent a great deal of time circulating, speaking to everyone there and was clearly pleased to be discussing a subject about which he is so passionate.
In his speech, His Royal Highness spoke of his inspiration behind this initiative, the shocking scale of decline of our wildflower meadows and his vision for what this project will achieve. He spoke personally, passionately and inspirationally.
Victoria Chester, CEO of Plantlife then addressed everyone, explaining the scale and effort involved in this project; celebrating its launch and motivating all of those involved to deliver its vision.
As the searing sun of the day turned to a beautiful mellow glow, we were afforded one last glimpse of Highgrove's glorious meadow through the window of the coach as it pulled away - affirmation indeed of the importance of what we are now working to achieve.
- Posted by Alex Christian, Coronation Meadows Project Assistant