Lowland Meadows and Pasture(definition)

Durham Lowland Priority Habitats
  1. Home
  2. Biodiversity Priorities
  3. Durham Lowland Priority Habitats
  4. Lowland Meadows and Pasture(definition)

Lowland Meadows and Pasture Habitat Definition


Identification & Mapping

The definition of lowland for the Durham BAP is all land outside the North Pennines Natural Area.

Species-rich, semi-natural grassland (meadows or pastures) on free-draining, neutral soils in the lowlands and upland fringes, including species-rich flood plain grassland. Managed by cutting and/or grazing.

Typical grasses include:

  • cock’s-foot,
  • common bent,
  • crested dog’s-tail,
  • red fescue,
  • meadow fescue,
  • sweet vernal-grass,
  • yellow oat-grass,
  • yorkshire-fog.
  1. If at least two of the following wildflower indicator species are frequent and another two at least occasional in the sward then the grassland meets the definition for this habitat.
  2. If three indicator species are occasional or four are present at lower frequencies (but not limited to field edges or corners) then the grassland meets the definition but it must be recorded as being in poor condition.
    • Adder’s Tongue Fern
    • Agrimony
    • Autumn hawkbit
    • Field Scabious
    • Field Woodrush
    • Goat’s-beard
    • Oxeye daisy
    • Pepper-saxifrage
    • Pignut
    • Betony
    • Bitter vetch
    • Common knapweed
    • Bugle
    • Common bird’s-foot-trefoil
    • Cowslip
    • Devil’s-bit scabious
    • Dyer’s greenweed
    • Eyebrights
    • Great burnet
    • Greater bird’s-foot trefoil
    • Lady’s-mantles
    • Marsh/Fen bedstraw
    • Marsh-marigold
    • Meadow Cranesbill
    • Meadow vetchling
    • Meadowsweet
    • Rough hawkbit
    • Orchids
    • Ragged-robin
    • Sneezewort
    • Tormentil
    • Tufted Vetch
    • Water avens
    • Water mint
    • Yellow rattle
    • Zig Zag Clover
    • Small blue-green sedges

Species rich grasslands which conform to this definition and are seasonally inundated by floodwater should be recorded as lowland meadows and pastures, and also as Floodplain Grazing Marsh.

Condition Assessment

  1. Cover of undesirable species (creeping thistle, spear thistle, curled dock, broad-leaved dock, common ragwort, common nettle, marsh ragwort, cow parsley, bracken) less than 5%.
  2. Cover of wild flowers and sedges throughout the sward (excluding undesirable species) more than 20%.
  3. Cover of bare ground (including localised areas e.g. rabbit warrens) less than 10%.
  4. Cover of invasive trees and shrubs must be less than 5%.

Adapted from Defra’s G06 lowland meadows definition.*

*DEFRA (2005) Higher Level Stewardship: Farm Environment Plan – Guidance handbook. www.defra.gov.uk