Our hay meadows are good examples of ‘upland acid grassland’. Characteristic plants found in our hay meadows include yellow rattle, meadow cranesbill, pignut, eyebright, sheep's sorrel, lady’s bedstraw and tufted vetch, together with several different grass species including crested dog'stail and sweet vernal grass. Species-rich meadows such as these have declined by more than 97% in Britain since the Second World War,largely due to changes in agricultural practices. We are very proud to own part of this increasingly rare and fragile habitat.

Pastures and meadows

The meadows - our nature reserve

Conservation

To conserve the diversity of our meadows, it is important that no chemical herbicides or artificial fertilizers are used, just farmyard manure. The timing of the hay cut is also important: it must be late enough to let the wildflowers flower and set their seed. Normally farmers prefer to cut the hay earlier than this, as that yields more nutritious fodder.


Yellow rattle, which is a hemi-parasite 'feeding' from the roots of grasses, prevents the grasses from becoming too dominant at the expense of the wildflowers. This plant helps to maintain the diversity of the meadow, but is not such good news for the farmer as it reduces the yield of hay.


Our grassland is managed organically by a local farmer, at a relatively low stocking level and using only manure as fertilizer. The nearest two fields are pastures which have traditionally been grazed for most of the year by a combination of sheep and beef cattle. The further two fields are cut for hay in late July every year.  A few weeks later, when the grass has started to grow again, sheep or cattle are allowed into the meadows to graze down the 'aftermath'.

Management

You’re welcome to walk across the fields, but please keep to the public bridleway. If you have a dog, keep it firmly under control when livestock are present.

See for yourself

Middle meadow, bee's eye view

We own the four fields at the front of the cottages, which the living rooms and main bedrooms of  both cottages overlook. Two are pastures and two are hay meadows.


Our meadows are the two upper fields. These are ‘closed’ to grazing during the summer months, allowing a rich diversity of grasses and flowering plants to grow. These in turn attract a wide range of butterflies, moths and other invertebrates. The meadows are a beautiful sight from late May through to late July, when they are cut for hay, weather permitting.

Meadow at hawthorn time Aftermath grazing by cattle in late summer Peacock butterfly feeding on knapweed Both cottages

Back to our scrapbook

Lodge Cottage & Old Farmhouse Home