Hay Time

A hay meadow strewn with vibrant wildflowers is an iconic image that many people associate with the Yorkshire Dales. Sadly today only a tiny percentage of these meadows remain. 

Meadows for wildlife

Visually stunning and teeming with wildlife, species-rich hay meadows are of high nature conservation and landscape value. A traditionally managed meadow can support up to 120 different species of wildflowers and other plants, as well as many species of invertebrates, bats, mammals and birds. Hay meadows are a vital habitat for bees but many species of bumblebee are in decline and some have already become extinct.

Meadows for culture

Hay meadows are also an important part of our rural and cultural heritage. A meadow is a settlement’s living link to the past and may be older than the oldest building, so the loss of a hay meadow constitutes the loss of an historical place as much as a wildlife habitat and landscape feature.

The future of our meadows

Over the last fifty years or so, some 97% of meadows in the UK have been lost, largely due to modern, intensive farming methods.

The Yorkshire Dales still have some of the best hay meadows in the UK which is why YDMT, in partnership with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, has been working hard to conserve and restore these complex ecosystems and protect the wildlife they support. The Hay Time project initially ran from 2006 to 2011, but we secured further funding to carry on the work until October 2014.

Read more about how hay time works

Find out how we're helping people to understand and care about our hay meadows

The Hay Time Appeal

We are raising funds now to ensure that our vital work to save the few remaining species-rich hay meadows in the Yorkshire Dales can continue. You can help by donating to our Hay Time Appeal or why not dedicate a piece of beautiful wildflower meadow with a Living Bouquet gift. Your support will make a difference to the future of our precious meadows.

Hay Time publications and other items to buy from our shop:
  • An Illustrated Guide to Collecting and Propagating Seed of Hay Meadow Flowers
  • DVD of “Sward! The Story of a Meadow”
  • Hay Meadow Species Guide
  • Hay Time in the Yorkshire Dales book
  • Hay Time - Analysis of Survey Data 2006-2011
  • Hay Time - Final Report 2012
  • Wildflower Meadow jigsaw
  • Wildflower Seed Mix

Hay Time publications to download: