The traditional method of harvesting is both ecologically-friendly and slowerLloyd Mann

King’s College is currently harvesting their “biodiversity-rich” wildflower meadow using Shire horses and a traditional hay wain, in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint and impact on wildlife.

The meadow, which took three years to prepare, was planted outside the College’s Chapel last year in hopes of creating a space where wildlife can flourish.

According to the College, the meadow “supports three times more plant species than the lawn”, including the nationally-scarce wild candytuft and cornflower species. Furthermore, a biodiversity monitoring study of the meadow has identified 130 insect species at the site, found to have a positive impact on surrounding animals like bats.

The traditional method of harvesting is both ecologically-friendly and slower, thus allowing the wildlife to leave the meadow safely.


Mountain View

Rare moonflower blooms in Botanic Garden

Steve Coghill, head gardener at the College, said of the harvesting method: “Not only do they have a far lower carbon footprint than using a rotary mower, the sight of these wonderful creatures at work in the college should make for a remarkable, bucolic scene.”

The meadow will be harvested into bales using a traditional hay wain - the bales will then be used to create new meadows throughout Cambridge.

The harvest is expected to take several days, before the bales are carted away on a traditional hay wain.