Bringing meadows back to Dudmaston's farms

Dudmaston hay meadow farms

Tenant farmer Peter is adopting a low-intensity farming programme to help bring back the hay meadow to Dudmaston's farmland. A field which was previously used for sheep grazing is now becoming a rare and important habitat for many plants and wildlife.

Hay there!

Hay meadows and species-rich grasslands may be declining nationally, but at Dudmaston we're working with our farmers to restore this rare and important habitat.

" In three years, the meadow has gone from short turf and thick tussocks to open grassland with wildflowers including Bird's-foot-trefoil and Yarrow. "
- Peter Carty, Countryside Manager for South Shropshire

A year in the life of a meadow

A meadow is any grassland that is maintained by traditional, low intensity farming methods. Dudmaston's tenant farmer, Peter is following a seasonal programme of work to help the meadow to develop and become richer and richer with wildflowers over time.

In late July or August a hay-cut will be taken, following which livestock will be allowed to graze the grass short. In early spring, the livestock are removed and the plants allowed to grow and flower, setting seed in summer before a hay-cut is taken again.

Rolling up the hay
Bales of hay in the meadow
Rolling up the hay

Why are meadows important?

Meadows are an important part of the UK’s natural and cultural heritage – rich in landscape character, farming, folklore and history; they are as much a part of our heritage as the works of Shakespeare.

Today, only 2% of the meadows that existed in the 1930s remain, we’ve lost around 7.5 million acres of wildflower meadow. Modern farming now favours silage fields as an alternative, which often have as few as two or three plant species, often without a single flowering plant.