Mending in the meadows
I'd sort of intended to write something interesting and informative about Northern Haymeadows and get a bit botanical, when somewhere in the early stages of a stressful family crisis, I was instructed, by the boss, to go for a walk, probably with the intention of me returning with a somewhat less hair-triggered and spikey attitude to the rest of the clan.
And so, on a blustery and showery July morning, I found myself wandering through Hannah's meadows, a nature reserve in Baldersdale, County Durham.
Hannah Hauxwell, who farmed the land did it in such a frugal and traditional way and without the expense of fertilisers that her meadows survive deep with wild flowers and all kinds of grasses and sedges. I wanted to witness this show just before the yellow rattle began to rattle to indicate that the time was ready for the hay to be cut. (The rattling of the seeds in this flower's ripe pods used to be one of the indications to the farmer that the meadow was ready to be mown)
So, I spent an hour or two exploring and taking pictures of flowers and tasting stalks of grass to see if I could identify the Sweet vernal grass that gives the hay it's special summer scent. In the midst of the heaviest downpours, I paused in the quiet of the barn.
Later, I tramped farther eastwards, through more rich meadows, letting the wet grass soak my legs; then returning over the moor by Goldsborough Rocks with it's sheltered suntraps and big, windy views.
I'd forgotten why I'd come for a while.
© Mike Knipe. Mike Knipe is an experienced outdoor enthusiast, walk leader and writer who has worked with Durham County Council and English Nature (aka Natural England).
Other articles by Mike Knipe on go4awalk.com include:
The Art of Getting Lost . . .
How to sound like a walking expert . . . (writing as Gnasher the Dog) and
“A lovely article by Mr Knipe about flowers and stuff. It really warms the cockles of my heart to hear about flowers, whilst we are in the snowy wastes of winter, amid the gloom and doom of a recession and faced with another wet summer? Still you have to look on the bright side and those flower rich meadows and spring snowdroopy days are what's to come! So more power to yer clogs Mike, an keep on cheering us up with rosy flower stories.”
John Bragg, Stanhope
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