How Hay Time works


Although YDMT manages and delivers the meadow conservation and education work, we rely on the participation and dedication of many local farmers and agricultural contractors as well as support from other organisations, including:

  • Natural England
  • Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
  • Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
We've received funding from:

  • Banister Charitable Trust
  • Countdown 2010
  • David Morgan Rees
  • Defra
  • D'Oyly Carte Charitable Trust
  • Forest of Bowland AONB
  • Friends of Nidderdale AONB
  • Greenhow Biodiversity Fund
  • John Spedan Lewis Foundation
  • Lady Bell’s Charity
  • Martin Wills Fund
  • Nidderdale AONB SDF
  • Original Buff, S.A. via the European Outdoor Conservation Association   
  • S&C Shepherd Charitable Trust
  • Tanner Trust
  • Tubney Charitable Trust
  • Wharfedale Naturalists' Society
  • Yorkshire Agricultural Society
  • Yorkshire Dales LEADER
  • Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
  • Yorkshire Dales Society
  • Yorkshire Dales SDF
We're also grateful to numerous supporters who have made individual donations.

How meadow restoration works

We harvest seed from species-rich 'donor' meadows and spread it on nearby ‘receptor’ meadows that have declined in quality. We have our own seed harvesting and spreading machinery which is operated by a specially-trained local agricultural contractor. Each scheme needs to be carefully co-ordinated by YDMT staff.

To date we’ve added seed and improved management on just over 400 hectares of degraded meadows, over twice the area we thought we'd do when we started in 2006. With a further 76 hectares of restoration work lined up for 2015 we aim to bring this total to 484 hectares by autumn 2015, fingers crossed for a good summer!

Meadow restoration can take several years, but with seed addition and traditional management the meadows should become more botanically diverse over time. A study carried out in 2011 confirmed early observations that our efforts are having a positive effect on treated meadows, with highly significant increases seen in species richness, species diversity and meadow composition. In other words, the flowers are coming back!


We’re very proud of what we achieved through the Hay Time project. The project won the Environmental Projects category of the 2010 Yorkshire Rural Awards, and in 2012 won the Environment & Conservation category at the Charity Awards - a highly prestigious national award scheme which recognises excellence in the charity sector. Individuals associated with the project have also won the Ken Willson Award for making outstanding contributions to the Dales’ environmental heritage. Pippa Rayner, the first Project Officer, and Steve Marsden, who operates the seed harvesting and spreading machinery, won the Award in 2007 and 2009 respectively.


Other meadow restoration projects

The experience and reputation we’ve built up through this work has enabled us to help other areas to set up similar projects.

In May 2012 we teamed up with the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to launch the Bowland Hay Time project. Sarah Robinson, the project officer, has co-ordinated meadow restoration work on almost 50 hectares of degraded meadow. The project finishes in March 2014 but it’s been so successful that in April we’re launching another partnership project with the AONB called Networks for Nectar. Watch this space for further details!

We’re also very pleased that Nidderdale AONB has now set up its own meadow restoration project, following the successful delivery of a number of restoration schemes that we helped to coordinate in 2011.

These projects, together with our own work in the National Park, are protecting and restoring a large proportion of the meadow resource in the north of England.