The meadowlands are an intrinsic part of the traditional English Landscape. Uniquely, they contain the socio bio-diverse, physical and mental pleasures of close contact with nature in all its forms.
“And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair,
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.
And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
Adlestrop by Edward Thomas
Meadows of the flood-plain have evolved over time and are rich in wildlife and historical features. They provide natural sustenance for man and beast. The classical scenery provided by the waterside meadowlands is quintessentially English and or Welsh. Vegetation is highly populated by a wide variety of grasses, wild flowers, insects and birds. In the past these meadows played a key role in the agricultural calendar providing great support to the countryman’s livelihood. They supplied an early and abundant hay crop. After which it was a relatively short period before the cattle, sheep and horses were able to graze sufficiently from the aftermath.
The added assistance from ‘artificially drowning’ the surfaces by opening sluice-gates, enhanced the growth rate of grass crops to levels not achievable today. Remnants of the ancient ‘flood meadows’ can still be found in several lowland counties where these old farming methods have been largely abandoned.Historic-Water-Meadows