LONG MEAD FLOODPLAIN HAY MEADOW
Long Mead hay meadow is over 1000 years old. According to the entry for Eynsham in the Domesday Book it provided most of the hay for the village at that time. Being fertilised by silt from the River Thames during winter floods, floodplain meadows were the most fertile land in the country until the advent of artificial fertilisers. For over a millennium, Long Mead has been managed in the same way - a hay crop is taken in July and the second crop of grass which emerges in August/September is used for cattle or sheep grazing. This continuous management, which prevents any single plant species from dominating the sward, is what sustains its extraordinary biodiversity. Meadows are the most biodiversity habitats in the UK. On Long Mead we have over 120 species of plant, on which an extraordinary diversity of animals depend. Our current research with the Global Malaise Program and with entomologists Ryan Mitchell and Michael Wilson is trying to determine the diversity of invertebrate species that depend on Long Mead. Click on the flowers to learn all about them. A full plant list can be downloaded below.