There are signs that summer is drawing to a close as Malvern Common's hay meadow is cut and collected.
This week, a local farmer has mown and will be collecting flower-rich hay from Malvern Common's meadow. An annual hay cut, late in the summer season to allow the flowers to go to seed, is essential to maintaining the floristic diversity of the meadow.
A long history of managing the meadow in this way has lead to an increase in the diversity of species found here and also the number of flowers, including the orchids which provide a stunning splash of colour in the summer. This rich collection of flora also attracts a wide variety and number of butterflies, bees and other insects.
The number of species and quality of the meadow was this year officially recognised when the site was designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). A SSSI is given national protection and ensures that the hay meadow will remain in good condition for the future and its wildlife will thrive for generations to enjoy and admire.
The UK has lost 97% of its wildflower hay meadows since World War II so this Malvern Common is an extremely important site example of a habitat that was once found throughout the country.