A SET of meadows at Hill Top Farm, famous for being owned and much loved by Beatrix Potter, are once again “providing a haven for wildlife”, according to the National Trust.

After a 25-year restoration project by the organisation, a survey conducted on three meadows (covering 11 acres) by trust rangers found that they offered a source of food and shelter for mice, field voles, and barn and tawny owls.

The trust added that plants such as eyebright and great burnet, which were classified ‘rare’ when the fields were first assessed in the 1990s, were now abundant.

Hill Top Farm, in the village of Near Sawrey, was bought by Mrs Potter in 1905, following the publication of her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Four years later she purchased the meadows.

According to the National Trust, traditional hay meadows were once a “mainstay” of rural Britain but suffered a decline between the 1930s and 1980s due to the intensification of farming.

The Westmorland Gazette: Eyebright and grass at Hill Top. Picture: National Trust Paul HarrisEyebright and grass at Hill Top. Picture: National Trust Paul Harris

The conservation charity added that, during the First and Second World Wars, the meadows were intensively ploughed for crops to meet demand for food, which negatively impacted populations of wildlife and pollinators.

However, the survey, which involved rangers counting and identifying the plantlife within a series of quadrats, seems to indicate the situation is improving.

Paul Farrington, area ranger for the National Trust, said: “It’s fantastic to see the hay meadows here at Hill Top in such good health.

“As well as being beautiful, these meadows provide a huge food and nectar source for hundreds of species of wildlife.”