At home in limestone + scything podcast
The Limestone uplands of Marble Arch Caves Geopark are home to many rare plants, insects and bird species. They thrive in the special habitats this rock has helped to create. Find out more about MAC’s limestone habitats here.
In fact there are so many common spotted orchids dotted around the place, it’s hard to find a place to dream without squashing them. But though this orchid is seemingly common here, in other locations they really are rare because modern agricultural practices threaten their native grassland habitats.
Through conservation schemes, some farmers in the MAC geopark have agreed to take special measures to protect and nurture this native grassland and it is a wonderful thing to see. Much of this agricultural land is farmed organically like this plot belonging to Ignatius.
The hay from these special meadows smells like heaven. And I’m going to rustle up a little audio piece we recorded at the farm of Ignatius McGuire so that even if you cannot smell heaven you can hear about it. Listen to Ignatius on mowing here.
Ignatius himself is a rare breed. He farms his ancestral homelands in the way of his forebears. He is bursting with energy and scything really is a joy to him. His enthusiasm is contagious and he soon has Claire and I swinging the scythe.
It goes without saying we are very impressed. Even more impressed because this man’s vision is ecological in a big way. We can imagine 10 men (that is the traditional number to work a field) out there mowing and competing with each other for speed and skill. He is really chuffed that we are keen on learning his skill and invites us back in August to help him.