Monday, 22 June 2009

Barrowburn Hay Meadows (1)

For almost a week, I had looked forward to visiting the hay meadows at Barrowburn in Upper Coquetdale but was quite unprepared for the experience that awaited me. Upland hay meadows are internationally rare and at Barrowburn, where the grazing land is managed in such a way as to encourage these lovely reminders of a slower way of life, the meadows are filled with an overwhelming variety of plants.

The greater part of the afternoon was spent in just one meadow, taking a slow what’s-this-what’s-that walk, firstly along a boundary path and then on a steep diagonal path crossing the meadow at the start of a well-trodden route to the Border Ridge at Windy Gyle. Although I already knew some of the flowers, I still needed to stop every two or three paces to take a closer look at one I didn’t recognise and thumb through my field guide in an effort to identify it. And all of the time, plant identification was competing with photography and vice-versa.

The meadows at Barrowburn support many plants typically found in northern hay meadows. These include wood crane’s bill, pignut, bitter vetch, rough and autumn hawkbit, cat’s ear, selfheal, common bird’s foot trefoil, yellow rattle and oxeye daisy.

In an earlier piece I owned that for some time I had not given sufficient attention to wild flowers in my wanderings. The hay meadows at Barrowburn served only to reinforce this feeling and, with my new set of close-up lenses at the ready and another hay meadow nearer to home at Greenhaugh, I can see it won’t be too long before more wild flower items appear on these pages.

To begin, the pictures show Barrowburn and views of the meadows. In the next part, I will introduce the flowers themselves.

A view from one of the meadows towards Barrowburn Farm and Upper Coquetdale

Looking towards Barrow Law

In the midst of the meadow

3 comments:

holdingmoments said...

That first shot Emma looks stunning when enlarged. A perfect shot for the wall.
I'll look forward to the plant pictures. I'm hopeless at the ID's on those, but this time of year they are too irresistible not to photograph.

Roy said...

That valley is an amazing sight Emma, I bet there are loads of butterflies on that meadow in the sunny weather.

Les said...

What a lovely place. Love those meadows. How I'd love to spend time in a place likr that. I must get out more (further than the city).