Monday, 5 June 2017

Magnificent Muker Meadows

Muker meadows are at their very best in the month of June

A stroll through the traditional hay meadows in Muker on a quiet, sunny evening when the flowers are at their best is an experience not to be missed.
The stone flagged path winds its way through seven small fields each divided by sturdy drystone walls with a stile or gate with which to squeeze.

 On first glance, a sea of yellow buttercups underpinned with red clover but look closer and there are dozens of species of wild flowers to spot;  tiny Eyebright, Wood crane's-bill, Meadow vetchling, delicate Lady's mantle and lace-like Pignut.  Later in July when the flower seed has dropped this wonderful crop will be made into hay.  Almost every hay meadow has a stone building in or adjacent to the field.  In Swaledale these buildings are known as Cow Houses (pronounced cowus).  They were built to store the hay made in the meadow and to house two, three or four cows during the long Swaledale winter months.  Today the majority of the Cow Houses are redundant but not all - some in  Muker meadows are still used to store hay and winter stock.

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