Cumbria Wildlife Trust hosted 34 delegates from 16 conservation groups at their base at Gosling Sike, Houghton last Friday, for a one-day event all about grasslands.

The aim was to share best practice, as well as new ideas and thinking about how to save Cumbria’s species-rich grasslands, including hay meadows.

The event was a chance to share conservation success stories, to celebrate how National Highway verges have been transformed in the county, and look at new research into grassland restoration and monitoring.

A wide range of attendees came from across Cumbria and further afield, including The Lake District National Park Authority, National Trust, RSPB, as well as Lowther Estate.

The Q&A session tackled queries from across the region and the day was wrapped up by creating priorities for looking after our grassland habitats in the future.

Adam McGinley, Cumbria Wildlife Trust’s Horticulture Manager, treated everyone to a tour of Gosling Sike’s nursery and award-winning wildlife garden.

The wildlife garden, and the volunteers who look after it, recently won four awards at Cumbria in Bloom.

Caitlin Fox, Pollinator Conservation Officer for Cumbria Wildlife Trust said: “It was fantastic to be joined by so many conservationists last week, to share success stories and come up with priorities for the future.

"All those who attended said they’d learned a lot and found it inspirational. Looking after Cumbria’s species-rich grassland is crucial.

"Without direct intervention, they would all but disappear within the next few decades. In the last 50 years species-rich grasslands such as hay meadows have declined by 97 per cent.

READ MORE: Man's life saved by quick thinking Carlisle Cougars rugby club members

"Healthy grasslands provide habitats for many different animal species including the brown hare, insects such as the great yellow bumble bee, and birds such as skylark, curlew, lapwing and twite.

"These habitats also give huge pleasure to communities cross the county.

"So it was great to get together with others who are equally committed to saving these important habitats, to share good practice and plan for the future - we hope to make it an annual event in years to come."