Find links on this page related to management of different types of grassland, different management methods and managing different grassland features, including hedgerows, ponds and reducing problem species.
Magnificent Meadows has produced a brief guide about how to manage hay meadows and pasture.
The Wildlife Trusts in partnership with Plantlife have produced an advice sheet about managing grasslands for nature for landowners and farmers.
The Lowland Grassland Management Handbook published by English Nature, The Wildlife Trusts, Countryside Council for Wales and Scottish Natural Heritage in 1999 contains useful in-depth information on grassland management.
Magnificent Meadows has produced a description note about the different types of neutral grasslands. Use the links to find out more about the types commonly encountered.
Flower-rich hay meadows and pasture have declined greatly and there is a lot of focus on the management of this habitat. Natural England has produced an illustrated guide to managing neutral pasture for wildlife (TIN088), and a note on National Vegetational Classification: MG5 grassland (TIN147) and there is a priority habitat definition produced by Scottish Natural Heritage for lowland meadows. Gwent Wildlife Trust have produced guides on hay meadow and pasture management and Plantlife have produced a leaflet on Welsh meadows (in English and Welsh).
Case studies on lowland grassland include: Ardtole, Chestnut Cottage, Dart Raffe Farm, Deer Park Farm, Francesca's Meadow, Haunn Field, Monastery Meadows, Monyash Farm, Navar Meadows, Peewits Valley, Teston Country Park, Wylam Community Orchard, Yalding Fen and Yalding Lees
The RSPB have produced a wet grassland practical manual for breeding waders.
The hay time projects in the North Pennines AONB and Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust have produced useful information about these meadows, which are geographically restricted to upland landscapes. In particular, there is an identification guide for upland hay meadows and a management guide. Scottish Natural Heritage have produced a priority habitat definition for upland hay meadows.
Case studies on upland hay meadows include: Park Meadow
Coastal / maritime grassland is often ver diverse with a large number of unique salt-tolerant species. Plantlife have produced a guide to managing coastal grassland in Scotland.
Case studies on maritime grassland include: Ynys Lochtyn
A habitat definition for coastal and floodplain grazing marsh has been produced by Scottish Natural Heritage, and a guide about managing coastal grazing marsh and saltmarsh has been produced by Gwent Wildlife Trust and managing a grazing marsh mosaic by Buglife.
Magnificent Meadows has produced a description note about the different types of acid grasslands. Use the links to find out more about the types commonly encountered.
Acid grassland may be a mosaic of grassland with heathland, and management guides for dry acid grassland and heath have been produced by Gwent Wildlife Trust. Scottish Natural Heritage has produced a priority habitat description for lowland dry acid grassland.
Case studies on dry acid grassland include: Monyash Farm
Scottish Natural Heritage has produced a priority habitat definition for purple moor grass and rush pasture, and an illustrated guide to purple moor-grass and rush pasture (TIN084) has been produced by Natural England. Several management information sheets have been produced by Devon Wildlife Trust about purple moor-grass and rush pasture.
Calaminarian grassland is a distinct type of grassland that develops on metal-rich soils. It is very restricted to conditions where soils are suitable, and is found as part of a mosaic habitat within other types of grassland. A calaminarian grassland management guide has been produced by Magnificent Meadows and Northumberland Wildlife Trust.
Case studies that menton calaminarian grassland include: Burnfoot Shingles SSSI, Williamston SSSI and Wydon Shingles SSSI and Monyash Farm
RSPB Cymru and Natural Resources Wales have produced a description of ffridd habitat.
Scottish Natural Heritage has produced a priority habitat definition for mountain heaths and willow scrub which also includes alpine and sub-alpine grasslands.
Magnificent Meadows has produced a description note about the different types of calcareous grasslands. Use the links to find out more about the types commonly encountered.
Scottish Natural Heritage has produced a priority habitat definition for lowland calcareous grassland, and an illustrated guide to lowland chalk and limestone grassland (TIN082) has been produced by Natural England.
A guide about managing lowland calcareous grassland has been produced by Gwent Wildlife Trust and Buglife have a thorough webpage on calcareous grassland including a list of notable invertebrates and mosaic management of chalk downland.
Scottish Natural Heritage has produced a priority habitat definition for upland calcareous grassland, and an illustrated guide to upland limestone grassland (TIN083) has been produced by Natural England.
Case studies on upland calcareous grassland include: Monyash Farm
Located on the west coast of Scotland, this unique grassland habitat has been traditionally managed through crofting and small-holdings. Plantlife have produced a briefing sheet and Scottish Natural Heritage has produced a priority habitat definition for machair grassland and an in-depth leaflet on managing machair grassland.
Located in Northumbria, this unique grassland is present on the whin rocks. A management guide is available from Northumberland Wildlife Trust and a case study on management for maiden pink has been written by Magnificent Meadows.
Case studies on waxcap grasslands include: Deer Park Farm
Wildflowers in urban environments not only provide a welcoming environment for people they are also important for wildlife.
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust have produced a short video on meadow management of community green spaces (second video).
Defra have produced leaflets on managing gardens and urban green spaces for pollinators, and a policy and practice note on managing urban areas for pollinating insects has been produced through NERC's Living with Environmental Change research.
Lincolnshire Wildlfie Trust have produced a video on managing meadows on small-holdings (third video).
Using local seed sources through natural regeneration, green hay or brush harvested seed is always advised, but there are occassions where this is not possible. The links below provide information about purchasing native species for grassland restorations:
Other information that may be useful when considering purchasing wildflower seed includes:
Restoring a species-rich wildflower meadow can take a long time, in excess of 15 years, and there is usually a succession of species. In some cases additional wildflower introduction may be required, especially if a two-phased introduction of wildflower seed has been undertaken. This may involve using plug plants or sowing seeds of particular species. Or, if the restoration has not been successful you may need to look at the plants that were used in the context of a soil nutrient test, or there may be other environmental conditions such as the land is prone to drought. This page contains links that may be useful to judge how your meadow restoration is progressing, whether it is succeeding and additional information you may wish to take into account.
Magnificent Meadows has produced a basic guide on different types of grazing animals. The quality of the hay is of particular importance for livestock managers, and the Floodplain Meadows Partnership have produced a guidance not on how to take a hay sample to measure nutrient levels.
There are numerous leaflets on grazing as the type of animal differs depending on site conditions. Beds, Cambs and Northants Wildlife Trust have produced an excellent conservation grazing guide including how grazing can be undertaken at different times of the year and stocking levels on different types of grassland. The RSPB have produced a basic guide on grazed pasture for farmers in England.
Is the rye-grass always greener? An evidence review of the nutritional, medicinal and production value of species-rich grassland with a seperate appendix of forage and species test results has been undertaken by Magnificent Meadows.
Magnificent Meadows has a case study about fencing management units at Blakehill Nature Reserve.
Cotswolds seed have produced a guide to mob grazing herbal leys.
Magnificent Meadows has produced leaflets on managing horse paddocks with species-rich grassland and the horse-tracking system.
The Wildlife Trusts in partnership with Plantlife have produced an advice leaflet about managing grasslands for nature for horse and pony owners.
The Kent Downs AONB have produced a good practice guide to managing land for horses.
The Floodplain Meadows Partnership have produced a guidance document on how to take a hay sample to measure nutrient levels.
Buglife have produced a general leaflet about how to manage a community meadow.
The Floodplain Meadows Partnership has produced a leaflet specifically about when to cut a water meadow in a dry year, and when to cut in a wet summer. They have also produced a guidance note on how to take a hay sample to measure nutrient levels.
The RSPB has produced a leaflet for farmers in England on managing hay and silage fields for birds.
PONT have a hay exchange website putting people in touch that have hay with those that would like hay.
Ulster Wildlife Trust has produced a video showing the making of a hay ruck.
Wildlife thrives in a structually diverse habitat with lumps and bumps creating thermal micro-climates and shelter. This is particulalry true for invertebrates where bees, butterflies, other invertebrates and reptiles want banks for basking. Magnificent Meadows has written a guidance note on how to create an earth mound for wildlife.
Burning grassland is usually only suitable on purple moor-grass and rush pasture or acid grassland where it is a mosaic with heathland. However, care still should be taken as fires even on acid grasslands may be damaging in certain circumstances, especially if there is underlying peat soil. Fire is rarely used on other grasslands if at all and can be damaging.
Magnificent Meadows has produced a case study about scraping soil to expand calaminarian grassland.
Scrub can become dominant on under-managed grassland and may need management. However, scrub is also a wildlife habitat and helps to diversity pasture. There are a number of publications that provide more information on scrub management and control:
Hedges are an important feature of the countryside and also need management along with the fields they surround. Hedgelink is a useful place to find lots of information in addition of the publications below:
Bracken is a habitat within grasslands, but can become invasive and smother underlying wildflowers and grasses. Management may be required and there are a few publications that provide advice:
Rushes, particularly soft rush and hard rush, can become problems in wet grassland and require management:
Native and non-native plants can take over and become problems in grassland. The guidance below provides some methods of controlling these species:
Many grasslands have ditches alongside them which may also require management:
Ponds are a feature in many grasslands and greatly increase the habitats for wildlife. The Freshwater Habitats Trust have lots of information on their website.
Water management is important on grasslands that lie in floodplains. It concerns drainage and the infrastructure either to keep water on the grassland or allow the water to flow off the land:
The Milestones to Recovery Project, undertaken by Plantlife and Natural England in 2016, aimed to capture the evidence from published literature, unpublished practical experiences and expert experience of site management to build up a simple picture of habitat recovery under a range of management interventions or combination of practices. The rate of recovery on each site is determined by the current condition, time since the commencement of the intervention, the relationship between management practices, particularly different combinations of interventions, and adverse factors that may influence condition.
The objectives of the project were to prepare guidance for land managers and advisers to help them:
The focus of this project is on plant communities and changes to these communities following management. It fully recognises that fauna are dependent upon these plant communities and the range of niches provided. However, in terms of this project, it has not been possible to include any details of the effects of management on fauna.