Tradition stretching back for 300 years.FARMER Iain Tait cares for 10 hectares of hay meadows at his traditional hill farm in Upper Coquetdale in Northumberland.
Barrowburn Farm covers 353 hectares and Iain believes that hay has been cut from his meadows in the old way for at least 300 years.
Northumberland National Park Northumberland National Park is the northernmost national park in England. It covers an area of more than 1030 km² between the Scottish Border in the north to just south of Hadrian's Wall.It is one of the least populated and least visited of the National Parks. plans to put "Flowering Now" notices in its Rothbury visitor centre to alert people to the Barrowburn meadows with directions on how to reach them.
Today sees the last visit by pupils from seven schools to Barrowburn in a Meadows Week project run between Iain and the national park.
The youngsters had talks at their school in advance, and the visits are aimed at giving them first hand experience of the importance of biodiversity.
Iain says: "The children have absolutely loved the visits. They thought the meadows were fantastic and the girls made their posies of flowers."
Iain appreciates the meadows but as a working farmer he must also take a practical view.
Payments under Natural England's high level entry Environmental Stewardship Scheme make the meadows economically feasible.
He says: "Without the agreements we couldn't continue to farm for a living and the hay meadows enable us to have the agreements. You have to be able to pay your shopping bills."
Iain himself went to the school from the age of five, as part of a roll of 12 pupils.
The school closed in the 1970s, and now the teacher's quarters are a holiday cottage A Holiday Cottage is a type of vacation accommodation which has become common in the United Kingdom and Canada. They are typically small homes that vacationers can rent and run as if it were their own home for the duration of their stay. and the school building a bunkhouse bunk·house
A building providing sleeping quarters on a ranch or in a camp. , from which visitors can appreciate unspoilt scenery.
FIELD WORK: A hay field painted by John C Adams in 1891, far left, and an archive picture of hay cutting in the North Pennines The North Pennines is the northernmost part of the so-called 'backbone of England', the range of hills which runs through the centre of the northern half of England, from north to south. .