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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 October 2006, 11:12 GMT 12:12 UK
Flying start for hay meadow plan
Harvesting a hay meadow
Hay meadow seeds are harvested using special equipment
A project to preserve some of Britain's last remaining meadows has got off to a flying start, according to organisers.

The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) spans Cumbria, Northumberland, Co Durham and Teesdale and features many uplands hay meadows.

To preserve and enhance this important plant and wildlife habitat, flower-rich meadows are being harvested for seeds.

During the first season of the Hay Time scheme, seeds from nine fields were spread on 26 which had lost species.

Specialist seed harvesting and spreading equipment were used, with funding provided through Defra's agri-environment schemes.

Attractive and colourful

The seed harvester cuts off the top few inches of the hay crop together with the seed heads. This "hay concentrate" is then distributed using a specially designed spreader.

Target plants include attractive and colourful species such as wood cranesbill, globeflower and great burnet.

Project officer John O'Reilly said: "I am delighted with how the project has gone this summer.

"All the farmers and Defra staff have been hugely cooperative and as a result we have achieved a great deal in our first year.

"I have seen some lovely meadows and am looking forward to taking the project forward into next year."


SEE ALSO
Work under way on wetland reserve
29 Nov 05 |  Northamptonshire
New Meadow move may happen sooner
05 Oct 05 |  Shropshire

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