How many of us know the difference between hay and straw? Or what the names are of plant species used for each, and which parts of such plants are most valued – leaves, stems, flowers? Why are some haystacks conical, some round and others square? Who knows why the cutting-time of hay is significant? Or that if hay is not dried properly it could spontaneously combust? What’s the historical meaning of the term hay meadow and is it different inside of agriculture and out, is it the same as a grassland meadow? How is it that when a grassland is improved there is less flower diversity, and when it is unimproved there is more? That just doesn’t make any sense at all. How many of us are aware that conservationists are trying to turn back the clock, restore hay meadows to former states where biodiversity can thrive? Finally, who of us has experienced the beauty and romance of visiting a hay meadow in June before it is cut? Often when we are born and grow in urban areas, we don’t know many of the answers to these questions, we may not even think it’s important to know them. But if you are interested, you can read all about the history of haymaking here and you can read about conservation of UK grassland here.