A DALES charity is inviting people to celebrate wildflowers on Saturday's (July 1) national meadows day.

Since 2006, the Clapham based Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust has led efforts to protect, restore and manage hay meadows in the Dales and surrounding areas through its Hay Time project.

Despite their importance in addressing biodiversity loss and climate change, they are amongst the most rare and threatened habitats in the UK, with more than 97 per cent having been lost in the last century.

Last year, the charity restored 38.51 hectares of precious wildflower meadows, and in the the next two years, it wants to restore at least 60 hectares of wildflower meadow across the Dales and Forest of Bowland by inspiring, training and enabling farmers and landowners to take action.

It also plans to enlist the help of volunteers to visit the meadows it has restored over the years through a 'citizen science project' to survey the plants and wildlife and putting together a detailed picture of the state of upland hay meadows in the region.

Catherine Mercer, the charity's Hay Time project manager, said: “Getting people out into meadows to record plants, insects, mammals, birds and fungi will help us recognise where our restoration has worked and where we might need to focus on enhancement, improve our understanding of connectivity between meadows, and celebrate the flora and fauna they support. It’s great to be able to offer local people the opportunity to learn new skills and contribute to our work.”

On Saturday's national meadows day, YDMT will kick off the project at Lower Winskill Farm, Langcliffe, when people will be invited to take part in guided walks, plant and insect identification sessions, meadow management workshops and art activities.

The free event will take place from 11am to 3pm and there is no need to book. Visit ydmt.org for details