Pwll Waun Cynon C.1820

You don’t need a flux capacitor to time travel you just need a hay rake and a large field like this one at Pwll Waun Cynon.

Hay gathering at Pwll Waun Cynon by Graham Watkeys

Hay gathering at Pwll Waun Cynon by Graham Watkeys

So a quick recap on meadow management: most meadow species need low nutrients and relatively poor soils to thrive and when these nutrients start to build up they quickly get outcompeted by the more vigorous grasses reducing biodiversity so removing cuttings (which rot down increasing soil nutrients) from the site after mowing is essential.

So how do you do this without machinery? Well you do it the traditional way by getting yourself a willing workforce (Hint: even more willing if said workforce were to be paid, as is traditional I believe, in cider (or Welsh cakes – the editor)) of agricultural serfs or volunteers (in this case these terms are interchangeable).

You pop them in a line each armed with a hay rake and you get long (and in theory ahem straight) lines of hay in nice little bundles ready to be collected and removed from the field.

It may be old fashioned and very hard work but it works and works surprisingly well as we cleared around a third of the meadow all told and removed half of the resulting hay bundles during the day.

Although I think we are all agreed that next time it gets cut we should try the 21st Century method of a tractor and a bailing machine (Hint: unless the Trust decides to pay us in cider (We can do Welsh cakes Graham – the editor)).

Graham Watkeys – Taf Fechan Volunteer Warden

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