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Managing the meadows
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Left alone, the meadows would become overgrown with scrub and then gradually revert to oak woodland.  Scrub is a valuable habitat for wildlife and we keep some areas in that stage of development.  Herb-rich lowland meadow is a rare and threatened habitat, though, so we manage most of the field area for wildflowers.   Back to HOME

The main need is for annual mowing to prevent the scrub vegetation from getting established.  Timing of cutting matters as you don't want to cut the flowers down before they set seed -and there are flowers that bloom at different times of the year.  We must also remember that the meadows are a home and a haven for animal life, with many insects having an especially close relationship with the plants.  e.g. the orange tip butterfly pupates on the stalks of plants.  Whatever time you cut you will remove the entire population of orange tips from that area.  We have a regime where 1/3rd is left uncut, 1/3rd is cut mid-summer and 1/3rd is cut late summer.  The late summer 1/3rd is the fist to be cut the following year so that the sections cycle through the regime.

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Cutting

Cutting long grass is not easy without heavy machinery but it can be done.  We make the first cut with a wheeled strimmer.  This is eased through the field to cut a swathe which is clear of long grass.

Once a starting cut has been made with the wheeled strimmer we continue the cutting with a standard ride-on mower.  Where it is heavy going we just cut off a narrow strip at a time.  Where the going is easier the full mower's width can be cut.  So long as there is clear space to throw the cuttings to one side there is no undue strain on the mower.

Once the grass is cut the ride-on can be used to throw the cut grass into windrows

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