Questions/Discussion

For a trial period, this page will be available for people to ask questions/start discussions about anything pertaining to meadows and their management. Perhaps a query about how other meadow owners manage an issue, or maybe help with identifying a new flower or grass that has appeared in your plot? Add to the page by using the “Leave a reply” box below.

If you’d like to include a picture for identification, then if you email it to me (grumpyhobbit@gmail.com) at a size no bigger than 500 kb, I can add it to any discussions.

Depending on how much it is used, it may remain a permanent feature.

20 thoughts on “Questions/Discussion

  1. A reminder that there is a walk during Wales Biodiversity week at Cwmdu to visit Llety Wen SSSI meadows on Friday 12 the June. Well worth a visit!
    It’s a A 2-mile easy walk (with stiles) along public rights of way, which takes in some of the county’s best wild flower meadows. Meet outside the community shop at 10:50. There is limited parking in the village car park opposite the pub. Dogs on a lead at all times. It may be muddy in places so please wear appropriate footwear. Contact Isabel Macho for more details: 01558 825390; IMacho@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

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  2. OPEN FARM SUNDAY EVENT – this would be well worth attending. Ruth Waltkins is an excellent naturalist who has been managing her meadows for wildlife for may years. I’m sure this will be an exemplar site and Ruth is very knowledgeable.

    Pengraig goch
    Llanddeusant, Llangadog,
    Carmarthenshire
    Postcode: SA19 9TH
    Email: ruthwatkins@supanet.com
    Telephone: 01550 740660

    Time of event: 11am to 4 pm

    Date of event: Sunday 7th June

    Event highlights: Hosted farm tour; Self guided walks
    Event Description: 2 farm walks, one at an easy level and one that is quite difficult as the ground is uneven and boggy. They will both show visitors the types of field on a traditional welsh upland farm. I plan to have guided walks, or you can follow signs and map for an unguided walk.

    The traditional farm had fields were either ‘dry’ or ‘wet’- the ‘wet’ fields are marshy grassland, wet heath and fen meadow. There used to be an arable acre but this is now part of a ‘dry’ field. The wet fields that remain are a tiny remnant of what used to exist in this landscape, with their biodiverse native flora and those on my farm are now an SSSI.
    June 7th is quite early in the season for these upland wet pastures that produce a sequence of flowering plants all summer long. But there will be flowers out such as Heath Spotted Orchids and Meadow thistle.
    There are several ponds in the Gwaun Pwll field where children can do supervised pond dipping.
    Entrance and parking will be free. There will be tea and biscuits available. I will provide a sheet with a map of the walks and an outline of management of the fields and a list of the flowers that you can find. You are welcome to take photographs. But please do not bring your dog.

    There is no need to book but if you would like to email me to confirm directions please do: ruthwatkins@supanet.com

    The farm is situated in the Western end of the Brecon Beacons National Park, about 5 miles south of Llangadog and 1 mile off the road to Brynaman the A4069.

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    • Alun, I wonder how much seed you wanted? I hand harvested about 1KG ( which is just under a million seeds) last year, which took a while, from our meadow. This year, there should be even more. I know you can find it on-line, but it might be better coming from someone with a local meadow, since its more likely to be suited to our climate/soils. Let me know if you draw a blank elsewhere, and would like some,
      Best wishes,
      Julian

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    • We won’t have time to harvest it ourselves but you are welcome to come and harvest some of ours – I could let you know when it’s going to seed.

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  3. Julian,
    Thank you very much for your reply. If I could buy locally-sourced seed it would be preferable as I was quite surprised to read that much of the rattle seed you buy on line comes from China so can’t be very fresh. I know that collecting seed is a time consuming and back-breaking task so I’d be very happy to purchase it from you. I’d probably need about 0.5-1kg but don’t want to be greedy so would be happy with anything you can spare. If you can let me know when you will start collecting, then I’ll contact you direct.
    Diolch
    Alun

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    • Hello Alun,
      I’m guessing I’ll begin collecting around the start of July, so maybe contact me mid way through the month to see how I’m doing. I might struggle to get a spare 1 kg, but could probably mange about 0.5 kg.
      Interesting what you say about Chinese YR. This year I’ve tried germinating both bought culinary Pumpkin seed (from China), and catering poppy seed – which should have very lengthy viability – with alomost zero success, whilst any home saved vegetable seeds, seem to have really high success rates, so you do have to wonder just how old a lot of this seed is, or whether its been treated in some way,
      Best wishes
      Julian

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  4. Hello Alun, judging by the amount of yellow rattle we have in our field we may have plenty of seed to spare. It all came from a field nearby belonging to a neighbour, and we harvested seed by hand two years running, and it is doing really well. If you would like to come and collect some from our field let us know (it’ll be a while before it’s ready to collect yet). Best wishes
    Andrew & Helen Martin

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  5. Does anyone in the meadow group suspect they might have habitat suitable for harvest mice, either in a meadow or elsewhere? For the next few weeks we are able to survey for harvest mice using bait stations only accessible to them or pigmy shrews (entry through a small mesh cage) and getting any droppings collected DNA tested at a lab, as part of the MISE (Mammals in a Sustainable Environment) project being run in the east of Ireland and West Wales. If you think you might have a likely site, and would not mind us setting out a 90 metre transect in it please let us know! Andrew and Helen Martin, andrew.martin26@btopenworld, helenjane.martin@btinternet.com.

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  6. Hi Julian,

    Here’s a link which may be useful: http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/species/harvest-mouse. Most books will tell you they are virtually absent from Wales but this isn’t actually true, as with many taxa it’s more that the recorders are absent! They are adapted to life in the stem layer rather than on the ground, so they can be found in grassland or reeds, and when the tall vegetation dies back or is cut they retreat to the edges and hedgerows. They eat whatever they can, mainly seeds and fruit but also any small invertebrates they can catch, and they build nests out of longitudinally split grass leaves woven together while still alive, so still connected to the grass stems. They are the smallest rodent in the UK, and rarely seen, hard to detect using the usual small mammal traps (like Longworth traps) because they spend little time on the ground. They are best detected by searching for nests in the autumn as the grass/reeds are dying back and before winter rains flatten them altogether; or by the bait station method that we are using. But anyone can search for nests in the autumn, a little ball of woven grass attached to the stems about the size of a tennis ball. It’s not really known how big an area of suitable habitat is needed to support a population, which is one good reason to try to find out where they are!

    cheers

    Andrew

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  7. I’d just like to say how much I enjoyed the meeting on Saturday. There was a nice range of speakers talking about grazing, fungi and butterflies and it was really inspiring to hear about the success of the Monmouthshire Meadows Group.

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  8. Thanks, Amanda. I agree it was a really interesting meeting – I hope to put a summary on a new post in a day or two, together with the information about questionnaires and the gallery page, for anyone interested – if you’re following the blog, it should come thro’ automatically, if not recheck the blog posts page over the next week or so,
    Best wishes
    Julian
    Best wishes
    Julian

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  9. Hi
    I am renting 2.5 acres of land and it needs a cut. Does anyone know of anyone who can cut it and bale the grass please?
    I keep 15 sheep and would like it cut before I put them on the land.
    Also if anyone would like to borrow them to keep their grass down you would be very welcome
    Best wishes
    Sabina

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    • Hello Sabina,
      It might be worth trying some of the contractors who are listed on the useful links page – depending on where you are, one of them might be able to help. Also if you left the same comment on the Carmarthenshire Meadows Facebook page, more people might respond.
      Finally it would be great to know if you find someone who will do the job for you. The CMG is still really in its infancy, and personally, I’d like to know and get positive feedback for any contractor who will tackle this sort of small scale job.
      If you can’t find anyone to do it, then again do let me know and maybe this will be a topic the group needs to address in the future,
      best wishes
      Julian

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  10. Hi Julian
    Thanks for quick reply. I will try the contractors one page you suggested. The chap i am renting the field from may know someone
    Best wishes
    Sabina

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