Lynchmere volunteers make hay while the sun shines

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Volunteers have been busy cutting and baling hay on the Lynchmere Society’s ten acre Roundabouts field.

More than 1100 bales were put together, stacked and stored by a team of some 20 volunteers working until dark over the weekend on the traditional wildflower meadow.

“Summer in the South of England is often referred to as two sunny days and a thunderstorm,” said society chairman Judy Rous, “the society had the sunny days but despite the black clouds the promised thunderstorms did not materialise. With no rain forecast for a week members had decided to make their hay but the forecast changed again as soon as the grass was cut so it became a race to make the hay and bale it before the rains came.”

She added: Making hay in the meadows continues a tradition that has been long established in the community and conserves the landscape as well as playing a small part in stemming the reductions in biodiversity and quality of the environment around us.”

Virtually all of the traditional meadows and pastures that existed across England 60 years ago had vanished as advances in technology and crops changed the way the land was farmed.

“As well as bringing plentiful and cheaper food this does have consequences for the environment and makes the fields on Lynchmere Ridge owned and farmed by the society, an important local resource.”

The society makes hay on the meadows for two reasons, she said. The first was to provide winter fodder for its herd of rare breed cattle that graze the commons and fields over the year as well as selling to local small holders and stables which helped to defray the cost of making it.

And secondly by cutting the crop of hay and removing it the fertility of the soil was reduced which allowed wild flowers to compete and provided space them to germinate.

“With a wider breadth of plants flowering for longer during the summer the meadow can support a huge range of butterflies, bees and insects which act as pollinators for seeds and fruit all over the local area as well as attracting a wide range of birds. Anyone in the area who would like to help shift bales should contact info@thelynchmeresociety.org

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