Bronwen & Martin Gundry

Blackdown Hills AONB

A 38 acre farm with a variety of habitats, including unimproved pastures and hay meadows

Twenty-five years ago, Martin and I took over the 38 acres family farm nestled in the AONB of the Blackdown Hills.  More recently we have taken a more active approach including starting a five-year mid-term Lowland Wildlife Offer in 2023.

A field awash with Meadow Buttercup and Bluebells in the spring

Our land is a mosaic of various habitats; old pasture fields, grazed by sheep (never ploughed or fertilised); an old forty-year meadow hayfield; three small woods; and some wilding areas including a flood plane by the river Yarty.

The River Yarty

Although we have plenty of trees, a lot of them are large, old and/or affected by Ash dieback disease, so we decided to plant more native trees. Some in a five-acre hilly pasture field mainly in small groups to create a wood pasture and others by the field hedges.

I am also turning one of the old grazing pasture fields into a second meadow hay field, using seeds from the neighbouring hay field to help get it started.

Species-rich hay meadow

Our latest excitements in 2023 is the arrival of a pair of barn owls, which are raising four chicks, and the spotting of two water voles on the river bank.

As we are still feeling our way of how best to manage things, we are always interested to hear how other people manage their land.

 

Other "Me and my Meadow" stories

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Bas and Rosemary Payne's meadow

Bas and Rosemary Payne

Clifford Bridge

Bas and Rosemary Payne let the grass grow up in a wild area of their garden and were bountifully rewarded - with many wildflowers, butterflies, slow worms and more.

Haymaking at Bridford Trust haymeadow

Bridford Trust Hay Meadow

Bridford, Teign Valley, Devon

An area of mixed woodland and grassy open spaces for community use, converted from farmland into a village green, but also including a hay meadow.

Julie Palmer

Bradworthy, Devon

A working farm where the flora and fauna are nurtured

Charlotte Oliver

South Hams

Charlotte's managing her fields as hay meadows and is rewarded with orchids, sweet hay and a host of insects, moths and butterflies.