Priority Habitat - Upland Hay Meadows

This is a type of unimproved grassland found on well-drained neutral soils in upland areas of northern Britain, especially in the north Pennines but also widely in Scotland.  The habitat equates with the NVC community MG3.  Amongst the grassy swards is a distinctive abundance of herbs.  In Scotland most examples are small patches on roadside verges, riverbanks and hill slopes, but some occurrences are in enclosed fields within upland areas (as seen more commonly among the English examples of this priority habitat).  The flora can include notable concentrations of uncommon or local mesotrophic herbs.  The vegetation is also an important food source for grazing mammals, invertebrates and birds.  The Upland hay meadows habitat is maintained by a combination of grazing and mowing without which the vegetation would eventually develop into woodland.  Ploughing, re-seeding and tree-planting can convert Upland hay meadows into other habitats of lower conservation value.

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