97% of traditional hay meadows in England have disappeared since the 1940s
We are a small, enthusiastic group of local smallholders living in the Stiperstones and Cordon Hill area of the Welsh Marches, who are interested in the the management and conservation of wildflower rich hay meadows. Please look at our website and feel free to contribute to our discussions, come to our events or even join the group
Our annual newsletter is now available !
This is our second newsletter for the group featuring articles about events and projects which have taken place over the last year. These include a description of our haymaking activities during 2019 last year's annual talk by Stephanie Tyler as well as features on various projects that the Marches Meadow Group is actively involved with.
If you would like a digital copy of the newsletter just click on the link above. We hope you enjoy it!
Growing Native Orchids in Meadows and Gardens
A talk by Suzanne Noble hosted by the Marches Meadow Group
After a minor technical hitch over the projector we eventually got going and were treated to a fascinating talk given by Suzanne Noble about growing native orchids in meadows and gardens. About 70 people turned up at the Church Barn in Bishops Castle on November 13th to hear about the wide range of orchids native to this country (about 52 apparently) and their very unique and sometimes bizarre behaviour. This even includes one orchid that spends its entire life underground. Suzanne has been growing orchids since 2013 and she talked about the way in which she propagates orchids in her laboratory from seed. There was plenty of technical information about the physical features of orchid seeds which are different from other seeds in that they have no food store of their but instead rely on the presence of mycorrhizal fungi in the soil for their sustenance. Suzanne now propagates a range of orchids, requiring different soil conditions, in her laboratory and brought along some samples of plants being grown in jars for us to look at. At the end of the talk there were plenty of questions related to peoples’ own experiences and (usually) difficulties in growing or transplanting orchids in their own meadows or gardens. She had also brought with her a selection of orchid seeds to sell, which inevitably this attracted a large crowd of actual or potential orchid growers. No doubt our meadows and gardens in the local area will soon be flourishing with plenty of examples of this highly-prized plant.
Suzanne lives in Herefordshire and is available for visits if you want to know more or see at first hand the process of orchid propagation. Her contact details and further information is on her website at
The Lizard Orchid, our biggest native orchid, standing between 30cm and 90cm tall, covered in a wild grey-green mass of lizard tails, which are the elongated lip petals.
Moths and Meadows Meeting - Pennerley House (7th July)
Around 25 members gathered in ideal conditions to chat and walk leisurely through three meadow areas at different stages of development.
In the 1-acre meadow, established around 4 years ago, a couple of Common Spotted Orchids were found by Steve; the first year they’ve been observed in this field. Some large patches of Ox-eye Daisy were in full flower; the seed collected from another of the meadow areas last year. Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Common Blue butterflies were actively flying and later in the day a worn Forester moth was observed laying eggs on Sorrel.
On display in the other meadow areas were over 30 Common spotted orchids. Greater Butterfly orchids which made their first appearance last year have trebled in number this year to 15 plants.
After tea, biscuits, more chatting and two delightful homemade cakes made by Alyson and Janet the Robinson moth trap, with the special mercury vapour light was opened to reveal the cryptic Buff-tip moth, a large and active Poplar Hawk moth and a myriad of smaller moths with gold and silver markings. Examples of the moths specifically associated with wild meadow flowers such as Yellow Rattle and Common Knapweed were displayed. Towards the end of the meeting a pheromone for the Six-spotted Burnet moth was deployed with a male arriving in quite an agitated state. Perhaps not what he expected!
Our next event for Marches Meadow Group members is the Scything Week run by Simon Cooter of Natural England followed in October by an indoor meeting - "Meadow Owners Question Time". It isn't necessary to have a large meadow to attend! Questions about making a very small meadow area on a lawn will be most welcome. If you are not yet a member complete the application form and send it to Siobhan Reedy well before our keynote event in November.