Swaledale farm opens gates to public for National Meadows Day

Hazel Brow Farm in Low Row hosted an open day as part of the National Meadows Day project at the weekend.

National Meadows Day is an initiative aimed at raising awareness about the vital role meadows play in supporting biodiversity, providing habitats for wildlife, and enhancing the landscape.

The staff at Hazel Brow Farm and partners from the Tees-Swale project hosted a range of activities which included a number of information and display stands relating to the species-rich meadows around the farm and the hay-making process.

Visitors could also participate in craft activities linked to the flowers and grasses found in the meadow.

There was also a guided meadow walk with botanist Laurie Wildwood, who gave an insight into the range of species found within the local meadows and conducted a Q&A back at the farm visitors centre.

Cath Calvert, from Hazel Brow, said: “Laurie highlighted that the decline and loss of meadows and species-rich grasslands is without parallel in the history of nature conservation in the UK.

“What had been a widespread and ubiquitous part of agriculture and people’s daily lives, disappeared altogether in the space of a single generation.

“Six million acres of grassland was ploughed to grow cereals during the Second World War and this started a process which would see the area of lowland meadows decline by 97% in the following 40 years.

“The day also helped to showcase the fact that, as well as the flowers and plants, meadows and species-rich grasslands can support a huge range of wildlife including wildflowers, fungi, bees, flies, beetles, spiders, moths, butterflies, reptiles, amphibians, small mammals, bats and birds.”

Children and adults were able to carry out a bug hunt in the visitor centre garden and walk the meadow tracking down various animals on the permanent nature trail which is accessible from April to October.