Hay Meadow in full bloom
Hay meadows were once a common sight throughout the locality, as elsewhere in Britain, but are now confined to small pockets of grassland. Traditionally mown to make hay in July and then grazed with livestock, they support many different plant species and are at their best during June and early July.
The Trust manages some important meadows, including the Ropewalk Meadow. This small but spectacular field at upper Coalbrookdale is home to a wealth of flowering plants including Common Spotted Orchids.
Because so few farmers now make hay, haylage is much more common and the Trust works with local contractors to manage the fields. To make the bales, they use modern machinery to ensure that the fields continue to get the best possible management cutting the grass after the majority of plants have seeded in July, thus ensuring next year’s richness. This is followed by light grazing by Soay Sheep.