So many underrated meadow makers

Meadows are more than the grassland and become more diverse if you consider the whole site. A place to discuss other habitat management, from trees to hedges, ponds to scrub and much more.
Philip Brown
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So many underrated meadow makers

Post by Philip Brown »

From moles to rabbits to ivy our meadows are part of a much greater interconnected web of life. I can never resist collecting a handfull of molehill spoil , perfect for onsite tilling. Ivy in my view a joy to behold , so good for birds and bees
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Jon Valters
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Re: So many underrated meadow makers

Post by Jon Valters »

Hi Philip,

I agree - its easy to underestimate the value of many meadows. Mine in St Giles on the Heath aren't particularly rich in flowers but still support harvest mice, glow worm, many butterflies and the occasional barn owl. Because Harvest mice can breed late in the year I try and cut the meadows as late as possible and only cut half of each field every year. This means there is always some long grass for small mammals and insects; if you drive through the countryside in September you soon realise how little long grass is left for wildlife.
Philip Brown
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Re: So many underrated meadow makers

Post by Philip Brown »

Hi Jon
I agree on the shortage of long grass for all the mammals insects and bird life . When we cut our meadows for hay in early September I made sure we left a wide margin around both fields.

It was great to see goldfinches feeding on the Knapweed left at the field margins and a great number of meadow brown butterflies and bees on the watermint on the banks of our stream that runs between the two meadows.

I still had a lump in my throat when the mower began to scythe the fields - you know there will be many casualties - but you can't preserve either the look of the meadow at its high point or the wonderful smells of the sweet vernal grass or rich meadow herbs , apart from the . haycut.
Jon Valters
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Location: St Giles on the Heath,Devon
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Re: So many underrated meadow makers

Post by Jon Valters »

Hi Philip,
Are your fields fenced - could you graze it with just a few animals? Our place isn't fenced so I haven't the option at the moment.
all the best
Jon
Philip Brown
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Location: Denbury/Bickington , Devon
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Re: So many underrated meadow makers

Post by Philip Brown »

Hi Jon

We are soon starting some hedgelaying to make the fields stockproof for anticipated conservation grazing. Hedges had got out of hand and there is a lot of ash die back but there is plenty of material to work with.

Can you use electric fencing and have some grazing from a local farmer perhaps?

I am still planning to have some fencing to protect the hedges , stream and a planned pond.

Best wishes , Philip
Jon Valters
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2020 7:34 pm
Location: St Giles on the Heath,Devon
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Re: So many underrated meadow makers

Post by Jon Valters »

Hi Philip,
Happy New Year.

I'm a bit dubious about trying to use electric fencing as if any of the animals did break through we would have great difficulty finding and getting them back. I also don't like the hassle of having to move the electric fencing on a regular basis. I'm sad to say that i don't have a great relationship with the farmers around me either. They seem to be back in the 19th century in terms of their farming methods and they do very little for wildlife except shoot it. I suspect too that they wouldn't want to get involved due to the contraints of conservation grazing. However I may well approach at least one of them when the time is right to test the water and I'm in regular touch with the wildlife trust who may be able to find the right person in time. We're close to to river and the few fields we have are flood meadows that are not very flower-rich. At the moment I cut half of each field every year. Your plans sound fantastic and I hope it all goes well. Best wishes Jon
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