On Saturday 2nd July we celebrated National Meadows Day, a day dedicated to species rich grasslands. Miriam Griffiths and Anthony Furness hosted a farm walk at Olchon Court where we discussed the management approach they have followed that has created such wonderful, diverse meadows in a mosaic with trees, woodland, pond, riverbank and orchard. This included talking about some of the challenges that smallholders without livestock can face when trying to follow a best practice grassland management regime in partnership with graziers and hay makers. Also the fine balancing act of producing enough hay for winter feed and maintaining the flower richness of the swards. Each meadow owner and manager has their own idea about what is enough and what is too much yellow rattle.
We also discussed the benefits of wood pasture and wood meadows providing more than one habitat in a field and being more than the sum of the two in terms of the numbers of insects and other wildlife – not to mention benefits of shade and increased animal health from the varied diet. We picked up threads from other events in our series on Meadows Mosaics and Mitigating Climate change at Moccas on wood pasture- an asset for regenerative farming, with George Peterken on Wood Meadows and with Rich Thomas on shelterbelts and living barn wood pasture mosacis
The event stimulated lots of interesting and engaging discussion amongst all the participants and with Sue Holland and Caroline Hanks. We covered the relationship between livestock, grazing management and grassland soil carbon and the importance of short grazing periods and long rests between. As well as the principles of meadow restoration See also the wonderful Smiling Tree Farm infographics below.
A big thank you to Miriam and Anthony for hosting such a fantastic day.