YDMT on TV!
July 8, 2011
We had a very exciting day yesterday when we met up with BBC’s Countryfile team who were filming in the Yorkshire Dales for a piece to appear on the programme on Sunday 24th July. We even got to spend the day with BBC presenter and plant enthusiast James Wong! Watch our 7 minutes of fame here.
The focus of the day was species-rich hay meadows, and we headed to Colt Park – a Natural England site which forms part of the Ingleborough Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is one of the best places to see a whole range of meadow habitats and species which are strongly influenced by the underlying geology.
The morning was spent with an enthusiastic and knowledgeable group of ten-year-olds from Bainbridge Primary School who were at Colt Park to learn more about the meadows and the wildlife they support user the expert tuition of YDMT’s Tanya St. Pierre. The camera crew filmed proceedings as the children got stuck in identifying and counting the plant species to carry out a mini meadow survey.
Traditionally managed meadows such as the ones at Colt Park can support up to 150 different plant species which in turn provide important nesting sites and food sources for a diverse range of invertebrates, bats, mammals and birds.
Over the last fifty years or so, around 98% of meadows in the UK have been lost, largely due to modern, intensive farming methods. The Yorkshire Dales still have some of the best hay meadows in the UK, but they need a helping hand to restablish a strong-hold. That’s why in 2006 YDMT set up the pioneering Hay Time project which works to protect and restore these magnificent flowery hay meadows of the Dales. It works by harvesting seed from species-rich ‘donor’ meadows and spreading it on nearby ‘receptor’ meadows.
We had hoped to demonstrate seed collection using a vacuum technique, but unfortunately the wet weather meant that this wasn’t possible (the vacuum machines don’t work well in the rain, and the seed was all wet and stuck together).
However, despite the rain we had suprisingly good results with the sweep net, which we brushed through the plants to collect all kinds of insects which could be identified and then returned to the meadow.
We then headed to the farm of Nick Townley near Ingleton. Nick has worked with us on the Hay Time project in previous years, receiving seed collected by YDMT from donor meadows which was spread onto his prepared land. We took the BBC crew to meet Nick and to see how his improved meadows are coming along.
If you didn’t manage to tune in to Countryfile on Sunday 24th July, you can watch our seven minutes of fame here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/i/b012xyfh/?t=16m26s