Making hay while the sun shines

Since HRH The Prince of Wales first suggested the idea for the Coronation Meadows Project earlier this year a lot of people have worked hard to realise his vision, but few can compete with the labour under the sweltering sun of the volunteers in Worcestershire yesterday. The project aims to create a new meadow in each UK county using green hay or seed collected from the few surviving remnant wildflower meadows, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s coronation. These donor meadows have been identified for more than 60 counties now and a handful have already been linked to suitable recipient sites. The final step of creating the new meadows though began yesterday in a field called Far Starling Bank below the slopes of the Malvern Hills.

14 volunteers joined Worcestershire Wildlife Trust reserve warden Rob Allen, grazier Matt and myself to collect the green hay freshly cut from the wildflower-rich donor Coronation Meadow, loading it onto a trailer and then spreading it across an adjacent specially prepared species-poor field. Both fields sit within the Trust’s newly acquired Hollybed Farm reserve where the ambition is to eventually create a landscape of wildflower-rich meadows through spreading green hay cuts to other suitable fields within the reserve.

It was thirsty work in the near 30 degree heat, and sun hats were a must, but everyone was keen to crack on. It’s important to spread green hay as soon as possible so that it doesn’t overheat in its bales or stacks so we were working against the clock. Thanks to the dedication of the volunteers by the end of the afternoon the green hay had been collected and strewn across the recipient field leaving nature, coupled with traditional farming, to take its course. A huge thank you to all those who helped.

- Posted by Dan Merrett, Project Manager for Coronation Meadows Partnership