Mowers fall silent at RSPB Bempton site

RSPB Bempton Cliffs is reaping the rewards of environmentally friendly grass cutting – with a little help from volunteers.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 11:32 am
Martin Stevens cuts the meadow at RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

Martin Stevens is part of a group that meets up regularly to mow grassland using a scythe. Having visited the cliff top nature reserve, he thought the meadow beyond the Seabird Centre would be the perfect place to practice cutting the ‘sward’.

Martin said: “I’m particularly interested in how people used to do things before modern technology took over.

“It can potentially give us some insight into what our ancestors would have had to deal with when working in the fields.”

Dave Aitken, warden at RSPB Bempton Cliffs, said: “The meadow is a very important habitat on the reserve. It’s home to wildflowers such as bird’s-foot-trefoil, yellow-rattle and common spotted orchids and it supports a variety of invertebrates, which in turn fuel the food chain which birds such as skylark and meadow pipit depend upon.

“During the breeding and growing season, we simply let the grass and wildflower communities do their thing.

“But at this time of year, we cut it back and remove the material. It’s wonderful that Martin and his team have done most of the hard work for us, and in such a time-honoured, traditional way.”