Wildflower hay meadows at Berthlwyd farm
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Wander through fields of dreams, and take your senses on a safari when you walk in a wildflower hay meadow. Allow your eyes to absorb the vast and varied colours of the flowers that dance amongst the long grasses. Breathe in new life as you inhale the sweet scented grasses and herbs and listen to the hum drum of insects as they busily hurry from flower to flower.
Flower-rich meadows are places of beauty and great places to share nature with brightly coloured flowers and a diverse mix of grasses. Hay meadows exist because traditional farmers needed to produce enough feed to get their stock through the winter.
Loss and importance
Agricultural improvement of grasslands has intensified significantly since the 1930s. The result is the loss of many natural and semi-natural types of grassland.
Upland semi-natural grasslands of high conservation value, such as those at Berthlwyd farm, have become increasingly rare and fragmented. As a result, they're protected by law.
Berthlwyd farm is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a special area of conservation (SAC). It really does boast some of the best examples of hay meadows that the National Trust has in its care in the whole of the UK.
The hay fields are cut once a year in late summer (mid-late July or early August). If it was done earlier it would prevent meadow plants from setting seed.
The cut grass is then dried on the field. Turning and drying the hay on the fields allows more seeds to be shed. Sheep then graze here until April or early May allowing the hay crop to grow and plants to flower and set seed.
Why is Berthlwyd farm so special?
Berthlwyd is one of the few areas in Wales that hasn't been altered or improved for agriculture. The farm has been traditionally managed without any fertilizers or pesticides for five generations.
This method of haymaking has created rich neutral grasslands with an intricate mix of flowers and grasses. More than any other habitat, it's an example of the link between sustainable farming and wildlife.