Cyril and DWT had a long and fruitful relationship, restoring Culm grasslands and meadows around Northern Devon over the past 12 years. Cyril was a great exponent of the ‘green hay’ technique for improving the wildlife value of grasslands. Using this approach, his magnificent Culm meadows were the seed source for the restoration or creation of many, many hectares of beautiful, wildlife-friendly grassland habitat. The increase in wildlife value of these sites can be incredible just a few years after spreading green hay. Cyril took great pride in his many successful grassland restoration projects. He invariably stayed in contact with customers (who often became friends), providing invaluable ongoing management advice. Any business would do well to model their ‘aftercare’ package on Cyril’s approach.
Cyril’s more recent approach to farming grew out of both his love of nature and his recognition that much of his early farming life had been spent ‘fighting’ against nature. He took the attitude that it was far better not to fight nature, but to learn from her, a sentiment that should be adopted far more widely. He certainly took pride in how much good his green hay did for wildlife, but he also enjoyed the notoriety his unconventional approach brought. He has gleefully told me of several conventional farmers who accused him of being a ‘weed farmer’ and wasting his time. They were soon put in their place when he told them how much his green hay sold for.