Friday, 6 June 2008

Biodiversity

I thought I'd share with you images of our two hay meadows which look an absolute picture at this time of year. We're organic and part of Wales' Tir Gorfal agri-environmental scheme, so we're pretty restricted as to what we can and can't do to these fields.

Grazing is tightly controlled, we're not allowed to cut until the middle of July and we can't apply artificial fertilizers. Any farm yard manure we apply has to be between certain dates. Actually the fields have not had any manure on them for a while now. They produce far more haylage than we can ever use, so there is no point adding extra fertility.

The rules are to protect the species-rich meadows. We have a lot of yellow rattle, a parasitic wild-flower which restricts grass growth. This makes room for a whole abundance of other flowers including red clover and lady's smock and other ancient (and quite probably endangered) species, oh, and buttercups, of course, by the million.


The second field includes an ancient dew pond. Previous farmers had the bright idea of filling in the dew pond, but nature will out and it is gradually reasserting itself. In the winter it's a gloriously reflective mirrored pool.

These two fields are the only ones on the farm that are actually flattish. The dog loves them (see photograph below) and the sheep are quite fond of them too, but the ponies don't really like being on these fields. Possibly they are too exposed, but in any case they are far too fatteningly grassy for native Welsh ponies.

The bridle path goes along the far edge of these two fields and leads, through a gate at the top left hand corner, to our green lane. Here be Hobbits...


... Well I think so any way! According to Mido (who was just sticking his head down a rabbit hole as I took the photograph) there are rabbits and badgers and possibly the occasional dormouse.

10 comments:

  1. I adore your hobbit picture, although the boys would rather it was snowed on and they could ski down it, they do like a half pipe. Your dog and buttercups is SO like mine! well, colour of dog apart. very jolly. The first two pictures give me hay fever just to look at them!

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  2. What beautiful pictures. I love your hobbit photo too. Just makes you want to crouch down and hide.

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  3. Beautiful pictures of the fields. Nature is such a wonderful thing and to have it protected can only be a good thing. We are schemes here to keep our fields protected, and we get paid too!!

    CJ xx

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  4. Hobbit photo - sums it up exactly. Your meadows look beautiful - your dog thinks so too!

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  5. We have those green lanes near here, they are very ancient aren't they?
    I love your meadows.

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  6. Such beautiful meadows and the sunken lane and lady's smock too. An idyllic corner.

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  7. Oh I can here the Dark Riders! Lovely blog and gorgeous pictures which have quite filled me with envy PM; I think I need a holiday chez yours!
    Sorry am so behind on blog reading but I am desperately trying to catch up - and it's time you wrote another now I have! xx

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  8. Hello, I found you via Pipany. You live in the Preseli Hills? As if that wasn't enviable enough, your meadows and green lane (think we would have called it a fairy glen when I was little) are beautiful. Our family holidays were in Pembrokeshire for 12 years running when I was small, so your whole neighbourhood and beyond hold magical memories. Lovely to see current pictures and read your blog.

    Emma

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  9. Oooh, yes - definitely Hobbits, methinks! Would love to find out more about biodiversity. Also wondering how you're getting on with your Planting by the Moon book - I'm finding mine so restricting. Just as I gear myself I up to pot something on, I take a look in the book, and the book says no. Rather like the Little Britain computer.

    Wonderful pictures.

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  10. We are waving to you from across Pembrokeshire. Your green brindle path looks lovely and we may have to send our woman over to visit. She likes the hills and on clear days can see all the way home to our house. Fields look so beautiful too.
    love from The Ginger cats and Jackie

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