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Last week we reported on our two hay meadows at High Borrowdale, both looking amazing with lots of white and yellow from the ox eye daisy, hawkbit and buttercup.

Pictured: Hay meadow display at high Borrowdale 

This week we have been over at Mazonwath, next to Little Asby Common, and had a look at our newest meadow restoration. Hay meadows are amazing habitats for pollinators and wildlife.  A hay meadow can have over 150 different species of flower and grass, but not only this, they also support a myriad of insects, small mammals and birds.  A meadow could contain up to 40 species per square metre.  The plants also have long roots and can lock up carbon and hold water to help slow surface water.  We certainly noticed lots of butterflies and moths over the meadow compared to the next field of standard grassland.  The main difference though to our High Borrowdale meadows was the flowers.

Pictured: Hay meadow at Mazonwath, Little Asby

The Mazonwath meadow was seeded by Cumbria Wildlife Trust (CWT) last year as part of our Westmorland Dales project, using green hay from a nearby meadow.  The seed bank must have been very different to that at High Borrowdale – whilst there is loads of hay rattle, buttercup and small herbs, you could count the number of ox eye daisy on two hands, and there was a lack of hawkbit, betony and great burnet, so the traditional hay meadow flower colour was not showing through.

Pictured: Hay meadow at Mazonwath, Little Asby

CWT are looking to add some of this seed later this summer so it will be interesting to see how that goes.  One of the advantages of having land in different places is being able to compare and contrast locations and techniques and learn more about what works and what doesn’t.  If you want to see the stunning meadows at High Borrowdale, the next couple of weeks will be the best time. 

We were up at Mazonwath for our dry stone walling volunteer day and had another new experience.  We are almost at the end of rebuilding the internal wall, a process that has taken years.  But in all that time, we have never found a drainage channel under the wall.

Video: Dry Stone walling at Mazonwath, huge stones on top of caverns

This is what we were faced with on Wednesday, huge stones on top of caverns, but why in this location and not the rest of the wall?  Perhaps this is the place where the rain flows through the limestone karst system and we are not aware of it?  It was also a big fossil day with lots of cries of ‘ooohhh’ and ‘wow, look at this’.  Perhaps that could be another volunteer training day next year…

Pictured: Dry Stone walling at Mazonwath, Little Asby

*We have rescheduled our cancelled butterfly and moth training day to Tuesday 18th July on the Helm. You can book here>