Hay Time is an ambitious project that aims to save our disappearing species-rich hay meadows, grasslands and the wildlife they support.
The Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) lies to the west of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It is internationally important for its heather moorland, blanket bog and rare birds and also contains a significant number of hay meadows.
Meadow restoration in the Forest of Bowland
Working with the Forest of Bowland AONB we launched the Bowland Hay Time project in May 2012. The initial phase of work involved meadow restoration work on 50.2 hectares of degraded meadow and was funded by the Lancashire Environmental Fund, the Forest of Bowland AONB and YDMT. Up to the end of 2018 the project had improved the quality of 65 meadow sites, covering over 300 acres of grassland in the AONB.
Hay Time in the Forest of Bowland also lead to the delivery of many other related projects. Networks 4 Nectar worked on improving small patches for visiting wild pollinators as well as field scale meadow restoration. Wildflowers 4 the Meadows trained community groups to grow their own meadow plug plants to enhance sites they look after, as well as continuing with the meadow restoration work. And in 2018 Hay Time Rescue began, and Carol Edmondson joined our team. This project re-established scarcer plant species back into places where they have been lost, as well as continuing the field scale meadow restoration work.
In 2021-22 following the successful Plantlife bid to the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, Bowland Hay Time will be delivered through the Meadow Makers Project.
In 2013 Bell Sykes Meadows in Slaidburn was named the Coronation Meadow for Lancashire, one of 60 flagship meadow sites across Britain that are outstanding examples of our remaining meadows.
Bell Sykes is one of the last unimproved flower-rich grasslands in this part of Lancashire, and one of the few remaining places where it’s possible to be entirely surrounded by one of the rarest habitats in England. Bell Sykes has four Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designated meadows covering a total of 12 hectares, a network of footpaths across the farms and downloadable meadow walk guide which were developed as part of the Hay Time Project.
Bell Sykes Coronation Meadows, Slaidburn
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