Upland hay meadow expansion

At Abbeystead Estate, we continued to expand our area of upland hay meadow – enhancing and improving our precious environments – as part of a long-term plan to increase its coverage from 44 acres to 276, which will be the equivalent of 10% of England’s resource, by 2045.

In 2022, a former dairy farm at Far Barn, which was previously used to grow ryegrass silage for cattle feed, had its first full of year of management by the estate.

We established nine acres of hay meadow and 58 acres of wader ground, creating new habitats for rare and red-listed bird species, as well as introducing a zero-input system, which uses no fertilisers or harsh chemicals, laid hedgerows and seeded a more diverse pasture.

This work has already resulted in healthier soils, creating a better environment for invertebrates, and seen 18 pairs of lapwing, a globally threatened wader bird, nest at the site where previously there had been none.

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