There seemed to be a lot of people involved in the project for a field of under 1 hectare: Trevor of Plantlife, Rob from the North Wales Wildlife Trust (the donor site owners and managers); Rhys Jones of Gwynnedd Council biodiversity, who found some funding for the fencing and harvesting; Dewi Cadwyn Cymru who arranged the muckspreader hire; Merfyn and Rhys who lent us their spreader and their yard overnight; Andy and Hilary Kehoe contractors and coordinator; Arthur the green tractor contractor and Matt, Jenny and their clover- eating baby Nell who own the recipient site at Henbant bach. Somehow all the pieces of the puzzle fitted together with near- clockwork precision!
Matt and Jenny stepped in just 2 weeks before the harvest offering a field on their 80 acre holding which they moved to less than a year ago. Once the soil testing and surveying were completed over tea and Matt’s cake on a sunny Sunday afternoon their contractor, Arthur, quickly took the hay crop off the field followed by midnight scarifying to prepare it for seeding.
The Welsh weather kept us on our toes as usual when the time came for harvesting and seeding. Saturday dawned bright and breezy so we made an early start on a swift oil change and rotor tightening session before driving one tractor and towing the other the 30 miles to Clynnog, but by the time we arrived there was a monsoon in progress. We picked up the hired manure spreader at Merfyn’s farm in Llanllyfni, left all the kit in his yard and swam home.
Sunday was a much better day so a 6.30 start saw our mini convoy heading to Caeau Tan y Bwlch.
The fields were harvested by the Ryetec flail cut and collector and the chopped grass tipped into the manure spreader for a second convoy the 2 miles to Henbant Bach where we met Matt and Jenny (who were just heading off to a wedding, complete with the cake Matt made) and the crop was spread. It all went very well apart from me having to empty half of the spreader by hand when the rotor got stuck! (No photos of that as I was in charge of the camera). We ran the Ryetec back over the field to spread the green hay more evenly and do a little more scarifying. Two trips saw the whole area evenly covered then we returned the spreader and headed off to Llanwrst for the afternoon haymaking shift.
The neighbour’s Welsh Black cattle will be turned in for a while to trample the crop in once Arthur and Matt finish the fencing then Matt and Jenny’s new Shetland cattle should arrive to finish the job. We all have a fingers (and hooves) crossed for a successful establishment of Gwynedd’s Coronation meadow.
- Hilary Kehoe, August 2013