Hay Meadows on the Helford
If you’re walking the South West Coast Path between Durgan and Maenporth you’ll skirt the hay meadows at Bosloe. As well as taking in the views of the beautiful Helford River, it’s worth having a closer look at the grasslands on this stretch of the river.
The National Trust ranger team cares for twelve and a half acres of hay meadows which were once part of the Bosloe estate. These meadows are now filled with a wonderful variety of wildflowers in Spring and early Summer. Wildflowers need low nutrient soils and there have been no inputs of fertilizer or slurry to these meadows for many years.
The meadows are managed by a tenant farmer and this method of low-intensity farming is unusual these days. Once the meadows are cut the hay is fed to the farmer’s cattle. Most crops grown for silage are single species and are cut much earlier in the year and more frequently.
The meadow grass is cut just once a year in late July once the wildflowers have set seed and the habitat is no longer needed by ground nesting birds and seed eating birds. This style of management has improved the habitat for wildlife and wildflowers. We have seen rare oil beetles, a flight of clouded yellow butterflies on migration from France and the meadows are a hunting ground for swallows, kestrels, barn owls and bats. Our ranger team maintain the meadows by mowing permissive paths which encourage people and their dogs to stick to the paths.