Muker Hay Meadows & The Bluebells
Swaledale has an abundance of wildflowers; with hillsides of primroses and bluebells and hay meadows bursting with colour of several species of wildflower , it's a botanists and photographer's paradise in spring/early summer.
The Protected Hay Meadows
The hay meadows at Muker are probably the most dramatic example of flower rich fields in the country and are a bit of an unsung national treasure. Wild flowers in this concentration are a rarity in this country and are the result of years of management from the local Dales farmers who cut the fields back at the end of June (usually) to provide fodder for their livestock during the winter.
Encouraged by a number of local conservation groups such as the Yorkshire Dales National Park and specifically the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust who work closely with the farmers involved, these fields are becoming more and more spectacular each year.
The 12 fields at Muker offer a wide range of wild flowers which include cat’s ear, wood crane’s bill, Lady’s mantle, pignut and the lovely melancholy thistle. Six of the fields have flagged paths, some are inaccessible but viewable whilst the first two are suitable for wheelchairs or pushchair visitors.
Just before the Hay Meadows spring to life and colour the dale, we are lucky enough to also have carpets of Bluebells along the River Swale, the bottom path at the side of Kisdon Hill. If you look up to your left along this route, you will see a sea of purplely blue. They are usually at their best at the beginning of May. Absolutely stunning!