Banks of the River Tale

Traditional water meadows were common in England from the 16th Century. The technique allowed landowners to encourage grass to grow early in spring by preventing frost, and irrigated the meadow during dry summer months.

This extra growth meant that landowners could demand a much higher rent for their land for grazing, employing "drowners" to manage the topography of the land to maximise growth.

Fast forward 400 years and England's water meadows have largely disappeared due to development and changes in agricultural practice.  Reversing this trend is the Tale Valley Trust, who have worked hard to restore part of an old water meadow by clearing vegetation from clogged leats and reinstating ridges and drains.

The renovated meadow has become a useful tool for education, as well as benefiting Britain's fastest declining mammal, the water vole.