Our Wild Flower Meadows
We don’t just loved sheep – we love wildlife and do all we can here on our small farm to encourage it. Flower-rich lowland meadows and pastures were once a feature of every farm, but only a tiny fraction remains today. Much of the loss has been recent (97% since 1935) and is attributed to changes in farming, including the use of artificial fertilisers, changes in cutting regimes (with a move from summer hay to earlier silage cutting) and drainage. Flower-rich meadows and pastures are a product of traditional farming practices over centuries, but survive only where the land is unimproved, having received little or no inputs of artificial fertilisers or herbicides, nor having been re-seeded, nor ploughed in recent years. Today the vast majority of grassland in Devon has been ‘improved’ by these means.
Flower-rich meadows and pastures owe their wealth of species to traditional systems of hay-cutting and grazing that have persisted for centuries. Meadows are shut up in the spring to allow the sward to grow up, so a hay cut can be taken later on, and then the livestock are brought back to graze the re-growth in late summer.
We are really lucky that the land on our farm has remained untouched by modern farming practises. We have worked with Devon wildlife trust to enhance our meadows – in the summer our fields are literally buzzing with life and they look amazing. Our sheep get to enjoy the diversity too in the form of hay, which they get to eat during the winter months.