Celebration of traditional hay-making skills at Wakehurst

The hay-making demonstration will involve horses helping to harvest grass from the meadows
The hay-making demonstration will involve horses helping to harvest grass from the meadows

Wakehurst Place is demonstrating traditional hay-making techniques using working horses to harvest grass from the meadows in Bloomers Valley this weekend (August 9-10).

The 600-acre estate hosts its Bringing in the Hay Weekend in a celebration of traditional country skills.

Conservation and woodland manager Iain Parkinson said: “This is all about getting up close and personal to the working horses, speaking to their handlers and having the opportunity to work the horses yourselves.

“In addition, visitors can watch country crafts being woven from the freshly-cut hay and speak to our artist-in-residence, Ruby Taylor, to learn more about how hay has been used in basketry in the past.”

There will also be the chance to have a go at the Wildflower Challenge to discover some of Wakehurst’s beautiful native meadow flora, and win a free badger-watching evening in the Loder Valley reserve.

The meadows at Wakehurst are now being cut and this weekend will be one of the last opportunities to see them in their full glory for this season.

School holiday activities during the weekend include Meadow Minibeasts (in a specially-erected activity marquee by the Visitor Centre) on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (August 8-10).

Children will be able to make a ‘minibeast mover’ to fly around the gardens spotting insects.

The activity, run by Wakehurst teachers, is just £2 per child to cover materials.

Iain continued: “Speak to our Grow Wild experts and discover how you can create your own mini wild-flower meadow at home.

“The team will be on hand in the Upper Walled Nursery, behind the Walled Garden which is looking magnificent at the moment with its huge array of pastel shades.”

Fresh from the Glastonbury Festival, Grow Wild, the UK’s biggest-ever wild flower seed-sowing campaign, is set to bring wild flowers to the people at Wakehurst Place with free seeds and its unique take on the humble potting shed throughout August.

Part of the Magical Meadows summer festival at Kew’s country garden, the shed will be located near the wild flower patch in the Upper Walled Nursery.

This is now at its flowering best, with a dramatic display, showing off the beauty and colour of UK native wild flowers and providing a rich environment for bees, birds butterflies and other pollinators.

Free Grow Wild seeds will be available while the shed is at Wakehurst Place.

More information from 01444 894066 or kew.org/wakehurst