Barton Fields, 24th August 2019

We gathered at the north end of Barton Fields for our annual hay raking and stacking session under the instruction of the warden, David Guyoncourt. There were sixteen of us, led by Eleanor, along with members of the Abingdon Naturalists' Society Green Team.

The hay had already been cut by tractor in previous days, and raked into neat lines by the Green Team, ready for further raking up and stacking at various points along the nature reserve.

It was hot work, with the temperature climbing towards the 30s as the morning wore on. But we took to the hay with our pitchforks and rakes with relish and by tea break had already cleared over half of the field. A second rake was done to clear up any stragglers – the aim being that as much hay needs to be removed to prevent the hay from rotting down and ensuring that the nutrients don’t go into the ground and the wildflower meadow can flourish the following year.

We took tea break, some of us taking to the shade of nearby trees, and Alastair who runs the Abingdon Blog passed by and took some photos of the occasion.

In the second half, we managed to clear the rest of the field and by this time had several considerable stacks of hay along the field. These will provide useful habitat piles for reptiles and small mammals.

Photos by Andrew and Joanna (unless otherwise indicated):

David instructs the group.

Collecting the cut hay.

Adding hay to one of the piles.

Some of the hay was moved across site on a big sheet.

...then rolled up onto the piles.


Joanna does some raking.

Members of the Green Team get stuck in.

Heading off for the tea break.

A stack of hay and some volunteers in need of refreshment.

Tea served with the temperature rising towards the 30s.

The hay provided a good spot to relax.

...while others headed for the shade.

Almost finished.

A grass snake skin.

Packing up.

A small rodent. (Photo by Michele)

Grasshopper. (Photo by Michele)


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