How to restore a meadow – creating vital habitat for pollinators.
August 6, 2015
Right now it’s Hay Time in the Yorkshire Dales & Forest of Bowland. It’s a busy time for the Hay Time team at YDMT, and the farmers and contractors involved in meadow restoration schemes this summer. It’s also the start of another cycle of hay meadow creation – which is vital for our pollinators and other wildlife.
How to mow a meadow?
The process of meadow restoration can sound like a cross between a surgical procedure and a military operation! So we asked our Hay Time officers Tanya and Sarah to give us a step-by-step guide to green hay transfer – which is a common method used to harvest and spread seed.
Step 1 First off we start with a ‘Donor’ meadow and a ‘Receptor’ meadow
Step 2 The receptor meadow is cut, cleared and harrowed.
Step 3 Shortly afterwards a specified area of the donor meadow is cut and the green hay is loaded onto a trailer to be taken to the receptor site.
Step 4 The green hay is loaded onto a spreader and spread on the receptor meadow.
Green hay is the preferred method of restoration as it collects a large quantity of seed from the widest range of plants, and is least affected by wet weather – a crucial factor in our part of the world! Other methods of harvesting and spreading are also used depending on the location and nature of the donor and receptor meadows.
Step 5 Next summer the restored (receptor) meadows will be surveyed, where we hope to see new species like yellow rattle, eyebright, red clover and meadow vetchling have been introduced, which are often the first colonisers.
Step 6 With time and traditional management treated meadows show significant increases in species richness, diversity and composition – great news for bumblebees and other pollinators, as well as a host of other wildlife species.
School children explain why hay meadows are so important
As well as the practical meadow restoration work, this year we’ve helped over 300 school children to visit and learn about the importance of hay meadows. In this great video find out why hay meadows are so important from the children and TV’s Chris Myers.
Save our precious meadows
Find out how you can help save our precious meadows.