Meadows and Cow Houses
A favorite view of many looking down at Thwaite meadows.
Each is enclosed by ancient stone walls and each with its own cow house
(they are not called barns in Upper Swaledale). The Cow House, pronounced cowus, is in two parts; one end being for three or four cows to be housed during winter and the other the hay mew for storing hay. In summer the grass from the field was cut and made into hay which was then forked by hand into the hay mew ready to feed to the cows during the winter. In late winter early spring the muck from the cows (a natural fertilizer) was spread on the field. The whole procedure was done by hand and very labour intensive.
Today the same traditional methods are employed which produces the same flower-rich hay however the cows are wintered in modern farm buildings and modern farm machinery is used at hay time.