It looked like a scene from a John Constable painting as the two heavy horses helped cut the new meadow, which recently replaced the college’s famous neatly-manicured lawn. The horses will turn and cart the hay on a traditional wain later in the week, with the bales being used to create more wildflower meadows across the city of Cambridge.
This traditional method of harvesting gives the animals within the meadow time to leave the area, whilst the mowing is an important long-term process to keep fertility low and create space for the wildflowers to regenerate. The involvement of the Shire horses is thanks to an initiative involving the head gardeners of Christ’s College and Murray Edwards College. The resultant bales will be offered to other gardeners around the city and within Cambridge University, encouraging others to follow suit and similarly turn their lawns into wildflower meadows.
Steven Coghill, head gardener of King’s College, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be bringing in these magnificent heavy horses to harvest the wildflower meadow. Not only do they have a far lower carbon footprint than using a rotary mower, the sight of these wonderful creatures at work in the College should make for a remarkable, bucolic scene and bring a bit of Constable to Cambridge.”