Aller Gill, Stanhope
This 2.77ha recipient meadow in Weardale is managed as a traditional upland hay meadow with mainly sheep and occasionally cattle grazing and a late July cut date. After a botanical survey completed in June 2016 by the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership’s Project Officer, Dr Ruth Starr-Keddle, the meadow was deemed to be highly suitable for restoration. The recipient meadow already included a few typical upland hay meadow plants such as wood crane’s-bill but was mainly grass-rich.
Once the hay had been cut and cleared by the farmer in late August, green hay was harvested using the Amazon groundkeeper from the nearby flower-rich SSSI donor meadow and spread straight away onto the meadow using a cleaned out muck spreader. Before the green hay was added, the meadow was scarified using a spring tine harrow. The green hay contained species such as yellow rattle, red clover, eyebright, meadowsweet and great burnet. The work was undertaken by the AONB Partnership and local contractors Niels and Tom Kristensen, who own harvesting and spreading equipment. The AONB Partnership worksalongside Niels and Tom, undertaking upland hay meadow restoration all over the North Pennines.
Photos © Ruth Starr-Keddle