Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
12:17 PM 11th July 2022

Hay Time in Bowland

A meadow near Slaidburn, in the Forest of Bowland AONB (S Robinson, FoB AONB)
A meadow near Slaidburn, in the Forest of Bowland AONB (S Robinson, FoB AONB)
Local charity Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) is launching a major project to help look after the hay meadows found within the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Wildflower-rich meadows survive due to traditional farming practices, in particular the late cutting of the crop in July or August.

During spring and summer, the array of colourful wildflowers and grasses in hay meadows is a wonderful sight, but meadows are also important places for other species such as small mammals and birds to feed and nest in.

The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) contains a significant number of the UK’s remaining upland hay meadows, one of the UK’s rarest habitats.

Working together with local farmers and landowners, Carol Edmondson, YDMT’s Hay Time Project Officer, based at the AONB’s offices in Dunsop Bridge, will coordinate wildflower seed collections from species-rich meadows and use this seed source to enhance and restore 20 ha of meadow that have lost some of their characteristic wildflowers over recent decades. Thousands of plug plants grown from local seed will also be planted.

Carol said:
“Hay Time is an important and exciting project and I am delighted to be part of it. Hay meadows are a special habitat dependent on careful farm management. I am looking forward to working closely with hay meadow farmers in the AONB and believe that by working together the future for our wonderful hay meadows will be much brighter.”

The project, set up in partnership with the AONB, builds on previous work that YDMT have been involved with in the Bowland as well as the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

A complementary aim of the project is to increase public awareness, enjoyment and understanding of the hay meadows found in the area. This will include running a series of events and activities over the summer months such as meadow-inspired art workshops and a celebration of rural crafts and meadows, followed by the northern scything competition in July.

YDMT has been awarded funding from the Farming in Protected Landscapes (FiPL) programme to support the project. FiPL has been created by Defra and it forms part of the Government’s Agricultural Transition Plan. It provides funds to allow farmers and land managers to work with Protected Landscape organisations to provide benefits for nature, climate, people and places.

Elliott Lorimer, the Forest of Bowland AONB Partnership Manager, added:
"We're delighted that the AONB’s Farming in Protected Landscapes programme is able to support YDMT to continue their fantastic Bowland Hay Time initiative, working with farmers and landowners in the area. It's vital that we do everything we can to help conserve and restore our precious upland hay meadows."

For further details contact Carol on 01200 438000 or email