Haunn, Treshnish Farm, Mull
When Somerset and Carolyne Charrington first arrived at Haunn it was overgrazed and very few flowers were evident. Over the last 18 years they have watched the variety of wildlife increase through carefully managed grazing of Aberdeen Angus cattle and Cheviot sheep. In September - when the majority of wild flowers have set seed - the meadow is cut for hay which used to feed the farm's livestock over winter.
A rich mosaic of habitats can be found at Treshnish Farm. Amongst them, the soils of Haunn meadow are lime-rich and support an exceptional diversity of unusual flowering plants including frog orchid, small-white orchid, wood bitter-vetch, field gentian and greater butterfly orchid. These can be found with more familiar meadow flowers such as yellow rattle, eyebright and devil’s-bit scabious. All these plants support a wide range of other wildlife. Corncrake has probably bred here and barn owls and hen harriers can be seen along with twite, skylarks and golden plovers. Butterflies abound in summer, with common blue, small pearl-bordered fritillary, dark green fritillary, meadow brown and scotch argus feeding on the flowers.
'Haunn' is derived from a long-vanished Norse settlement that once stood where the meadow now grows.
Header image above and gallery images by Carolyne Mazur
Species to spot
Greater butterfly orchid
Best time to see: June - July
Despite its name this dainty flower is largely pollinated by moths, attracted by a vanilla scent that grows stronger at night. The lesser butterfly orchid looks very alike - the main difference the size and position of its pollen sacs.
Best time to see: June - Sept.
A pink pin-cushion-like flower which our ancestors believed cured scabies (hence "scabious"). It has short, stubby roots which - according to legend - were bitten off by the Devil to prevent its healing powers.
Best time to see: May - Sept.
A semi-parasitic flower, that feeds off nutrients in nearby grass roots. In doing so it helps restrict the vigorous grasses, allowing more delicate wildflowers to emerge. Its 'rattle' is from tiny seeds in their pods.
Best time to see: All year
Male skylarks can be spotted rising almost vertically from the ground, hovering and singing from a great height before parachuting back down to earth. Despite their aerial activities, skylarks nest on the ground, laying three to four eggs. Image (c) Stefan Johansson
The Native type of Angus is now a rare breed, short legged, hardy and docile, it was sent all over the world to improve beef production. Today, the more commonly found Aberdeen Angus is a large, impressive animal well known for the quality of its beef.
Image by G. Soutar
"Our guests walk through the meadow and get a huge amount of pleasure from it. They talk about how the flowers remind them of their childhood memories of hay meadows."
- Somerset Charrington, Farmer, Treshnish Farm