Water meadows are a significant feature of the landscape of the chalk valleys around Salisbury. Largely constructed in the 17th century they produce grazing for animals, hay crops, animal dung for fertiliser, wool, dairy and meat. Important culturally, valley-bottom water meadows have been written about and they famously form a part of landscape compositions by John Constable on his visits to Salisbury. This talk provides an account of water meadow construction and operation, explaining why they have been important economically, their importance in the landscape around Salisbury and how, once more, historic water meadows may provide a range of ‘ecosystem services’ within our beautiful local river valleys.
Aspire is a partnership programme touring Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows 1831 across the UK. Aspire is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Art Fund.