Learn About Upland Hay Meadows: Meadow Connections Festival

Permaculture magazine
Thursday, 24th May 2018

A weekend festival celebrating upland hay meadows, with workshops, music, crafts, and a feast night.

The weekend celebration of upland hay meadows is back and has even more to offer this year with a packed schedule of talks, workshops and demonstrations all aimed to engage and inform people about the wonderful upland hay meadows of the Yorkshire Dales.

Set in a beautiful spot at Lower Winskill Farm near Settle, the Meadow Connections festival comprises a range of activities over two days, offering the chance to learn new skills and crafts such as scything, dry stone walling, weaving and pottery, as well as enjoying a traditional ceilidh and feast night.

The event kicks off on Saturday 14 July with a day of workshops including; Flora and fauna identification with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust; Enamelled jewellery making with local craftswoman Emily Knight; Weaving with local textile artist Izzie Middleton; Introduction to scything with Chris Riley; Dry Stone walling with Dave Purvis from the Yorkshire Dales National Park; Drawing with nationally renowned Settle-based artist Margaret Uttley; Coil pot making and pit firing with Ken Jaquiery; and Herbal walks and talks with Helen Rideout and Heather Ware.

There will also be a new addition to the Meadow Connections offering in the form of two half hour talks during the day on the theme of small scale dairying and artisan cheesemaking given by Simon Fairlie (author of Meat: A benign extravagence) of Monkton Wyld Court, a sustainability centre and off grid farm in Dorset and Andy Swinscoe from the Courtyard Dairy near Settle.

The day will be rounded off with a traditional ceilidh of music, story and dance featuring special guest musicians from the Moonbeams Collective, a Yorkshire based folk band and a feast of delicious local ingredients.



It is Open Farm day on Sunday 15 July, with informal talks from farm owner Tom Lord, drop in craft sessions and a chance for visitors to get stuck in helping turn, stack and bring in the hay (weather permitting). The weekend will be rounded off with the 2018 Northern Scythe Championships, which will see competitors from across the region and the UK demonstrating their skills as they compete for the title.

Ruth Pullan, Meadow Connections organizer, said: “We hope to help people engage with the ancient hay meadows of the Yorkshire Dales – a precious habitat that is becoming increasingly rare. The festival was such a success last year that we wanted to run it again with the same mix of informative workshops and talks all in the beautiful surroundings of Lower Winskill Farm. With camping, delicious local food and a range of activities on offer, we’re looking forward welcoming people of all ages once again to come and make fond memories for the future.” 

Meadow Connections tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance. Prices vary depending on the activity. For further details please visit www.meadowconnections.co.uk, email [email protected] or call Ruth Pullan on 07951 399176.

Useful links

Growing wild flowers

Essential role of a wildlife meadow

Why you should use a scythe