Summer Gathering 2022 – A Celebration of Meadows – SOLD OUT

  • Date: 18 June 2022
  • Until: 18 June 2022
  • Time: 10am - 4pm
  • Address: Challacombe Farm, Postbridge, Dartmoor

The day brings together all those who love wildflower meadows with natural history experts for an inspirational day of learning.

Saturday 18th June 2022
Challacombe Farm, Dartmoor

Register here

Looking for bees: Wendy Searle

The venue for the day is wonderfully situated, Challacombe Farm on Dartmoor, near Postbridge. Naomi Oakley and Mark Owen are farming for nature and Challacombe has a wonderful floristically diverse Rhos pasture and a beautiful hay meadow with Greater Butterfly orchids.

As well as walking in the meadows, you will have the opportunity to attend two walks and talks led by experts. There’s an inspiring selection of topics to choose from including: meadow grasses and wildflowers identification, butterflies ID, habitats for birds, soils in depth, a childrens’ meadows workshop, a farm walk learning how the land is managed for livestock and nature and more.

There’s also the chance to ask your burning meadows questions to experts during a question and answer session.

The event is for everyone who has a wildflower meadow, or who would like to turn a pasture, or areas in their garden, into one. Or come if you simply love meadows and want to learn more about the flora and fauna.

Tickets just £15, which includes two workshops or walks and talks of your choosing, plus tea and cake. Children under 16 can come for free.

Refund policy: full refund up to 7 days before the event. After that time we will refund you if we can resell your ticket.

It’s a relaxed informal day so bring your own picnic.

Photo: Wendy Searle

Morning and Afternoon workshops/guided walk options – which will you choose?

Grasses identification workshop for beginners – Learn to identify the key indicator grasses of a species-rich meadow with ecologist and meadow-maker Sue Everett. Bring a sample of your own grasses if you’d like them identified.

Wildflower identification workshop – all levels – Learn to identify the key wildflowers of a wonderfully species-rich Rhos pasture. Stroll through Challacombe Farm’s fantastic meadow with ecologist and meadows expert Jerry Tallowin.

Wildflower Identification workshop for beginners – Learn the basic skills of wild flower identification on our workshop with ecologist Dr Tracey Hamston. Get to know the parts of a flower to help you with identification – find out your sepal from your bract on this workshop. You’ll leave being able to identify a selection of key species from the Challcombe Farm meadows.

Meadows for Children – No latin names, no tests and no ‘right’ answers. Join Orlando Rutter for a joyful way to explore meadows for the younger participants with a variety of creative and immersive activities leading to personal celebrations of the wonder of meadows. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Digging into Soils – A walk/talk/dig with Wendy Couch from Westcountry Rivers Trust. This workshop will be an opportunity to ‘unearth’ the world beneath our feet. Wendy will look at all aspects of soil health, and how to make it thrive. Covering nutrient requirements, soil structure and the bustling life of soil biology, as well as some in-field demonstrations, you will learn to how to assess and improve soil health. Healthy soils mean healthy meadows! You will also find out the best method for taking soil samples, where to send them to have them analysed and what the results mean.

Guided walk through the meadows at Challacombe – Your guide is Naomi Oakley who farms at Challacombe with Mark Owen. Naomi will inform you how they are farming with nature and will take you on a walk through some of Challacombe’s beautiful meadows.

What habitats encourage birds? – A guided walk at Challacombe with RSPB Chair, Kevin Cox and ecologist Robbie Phillips. This event will explore the different habitats that benefit a range of birds.

Butterfly Identification – Spend the hour on a guided walk with John Walters, illustrator of The Wildlife of Dartmoor looking for butterflies, including Marsh Fritillary. John will guide you through the ways you can manage your patch, on whatever scale, to create a breeding habitat for butterflies.

Meadow Mindfulness – There is increasing academic evidence that spending time in natural environments has many physical health and mental wellbeing benefits. Orlando Rutter will provide a short introduction to some gentle mindfulness practices in one of Challacombe’s wonderful meadows. Orlando will use a variety of simple activities to calm and focus the mind-body, talk about different traditions and approaches including the increasingly popular Shinrin Yoku (Japanese Forest Bathing). If you have a yoga mat or blanket or even some old builder’s plastic – bring that to lie on!

Bug safari – for all ages – a guided walk with ecologist John Walters. Much wildlife, including insect-eating birds such as house martins, swifts and swallows are reliant on meadows as their main food source. On this fascinating walk and talk you’ll be looking for the bugs and beetles that live in a meadow and that are an essential part of the ecosystem.

Question and Answer session – led by Sue Everett and Jerry Tallowin. Sue is an ecologist and columnist for British Wildlife magazine. Sue has many years experience advising on wildlife habitat restoration, especially creating wild flower grasslands at all scales, field to front garden. Jerry is an ecologist, experienced meadow-maker and principle research scientist at Rothamsted Research. So bring any questions you have and have them answered by our experts.