© Mike Dodd


Discover Floodplain Meadows

Floodplain meadows are beautiful, ancient and fascinating places rich in wildlife and history. Throughout the spring and early summer, they are awash with wildflowers and waving grasses, humming with insects and the birds that depend on them. They provide a vibrant and beautiful spectacle that has now all but disappeared from the UK.

They evolved over many hundreds of years through the need to store the summer grass crop as hay to sustain cattle, sheep and especially horses over the winter months. The system of allowing the vegetation to grow up in the spring, taking a hay crop in midsummer and then grazing the re-growth, prevented taller, coarser species from becoming dominant and created the diverse flower rich sward we see today.

Learn more about what they are, what amazing wildlife they contain, their special soil and plants and their ancient history in this section. Discover what you can do to get involved in research on floodplain meadows through historical investigation, or be inspired to get involved in art projects. Find out what floodplain meadows are open to the public near you.

Key resources

What are floodplain meadows?
1 minute masterclass

Floodplain meadows map

Use our meadow map to find floodplain meadows near you.

Image of floodplain meadows map
Image of researcher instructing people in a field

Learn more about floodplain meadows, their history, wildlife, water and soils.

Artwork by Alice Hall - copyright Alice Walker
© Alice Walker

Find out more about art inspired by meadows.