Upland Hay Meadows are listed under Annex 1 of the Habitats Directive, and are a key element of the landscape of the North Pennines. Their conservation importance was already recognised by the introduction of the first agri-environment schemes in 1987, when they were the key habitat targeted by the Pennine Dales Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA).
The Pennine Dales ESA monitoring programme initiated data collection on several hundred meadows throughout the area, and have since been subject to periodic resurvey, most recently in 2003. Many meadows have recently transferred to Higher Level Stewardship (HLS).
This report presents the findings of a survey of 103 meadows now under HLS management, of which a high proportion had previously been part of the ESA monitoring programme.