This meadow flora can occur on many areas of neutral grassland including most areas of unimproved neutral grassland across the lowlands. It is not restricted to grasslands cut for hay, but also includes unimproved neutral pastures where livestock grazing is the main land use. On many farms, use of particular fields for grazing pasture and hay cropping change over time but the plant communities persist with only slight changes depending on which plants are favoured by the current management.
In non-agricultural settings, such grasslands are less frequent but additional examples may be found in recreational sites, churchyards, roadside verges and a variety of other localities.
The recent move to cut silage rather than hay and to add fertiliser to pasture has led to a loss of this meadow flora across the landscape. Silage makes an energy rich feed for livestock but the early cutting prevents many wildflowers from seeding properly, which has a knock on effect for insects, birds and mammals.
Meadows may remain on small holdings as they were often located near to farm buildings, making it easier to bring in and store the hay crop.
For more information on meadows see: Plantlife’s website.
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