Take part in this brand new nQuire citizen science project investigating insect pollinators.
The conservation value of these flower-rich grasslands results from their long and continuous management as hay meadows. The pattern of hay making followed by grazing of the re-growth by cattle and sheep was an established management across the country as long ago as the 12th and 13th centuries. Hay was a crucial resource providing winter feed for livestock. Consequently, these meadows were considered a very valuable part of the farming system.
Hay-making would have taken place over a period of several weeks as cutting took place by hand using a scythe. It was a very skilled job to cut the hay. The timing of the hay cut would vary from year to year as it was determined largely by the weather. Combining all these elements of traditional management together creates this unique cultural landscape.
These flower-rich meadows are a reminder of a traditional way of life, providing us with a connection to the past. Each meadow has its own distinctive character and sense of place fashioned by the local environment - the product of the interactions between the traditional management, climate and soil. The flowers connected with these meadows are also distinctive, only species adapted to hay making and grazing can thrive.