18.09.2021 Rodborough – hay raking.
The (now annual) Hay Day in Rodborough is held in late summer or early autumn to remove cut grass from a 1/3 acre wildflower meadow (near Rodborough Common) which is owned by Candy and Dave – GVCV members.
This task reduces soil fertility, reducing the growth of species such as rye grass, thistles and nettles and allowing a wide range of meadow plants to thrive – 30 were counted in 2021 including three species of orchid. These, in turn, attract butterflies, wild bees and other insects and support a food pyramid that allows other species such as swallows to thrive.
Cutting the meadow also makes the site attractive to cattle, let in from neighbouring fields, who then keep the grass under control until the spring and provide cow dung-habitat for fungi and beetles.
The event was postponed this year because the farmer was unable to cut the meadow when hoped, however five volunteers were able to attend at short notice on a second date and rake the vast majority of the hay off the meadow in about three hours. Four volunteers raked hay into long furrows whilst the fifth rolled them on to a tarpaulin and dragged the hay to a compost heap at the bottom corner.
Lunch was provided by Dave & Candy. Special thanks go to Pete for bringing special hay rakes from his Bradford-on-Avon conservation group – these made the task significantly quicker.