I cannot tell you how sad I am to be showing you this photo. The scene is the haymeadows in front of our orchard. Recently they appeared for sale on LeBonCoin (an online small advertisement site). Very soon after, the hedges were attacked with a flail, and left sparse and splintered. Our orchard neighbour tells me it is to render the site propre. After a couple of weeks the whole area was sprayed with a herbicide, no doubt with the same aim in mind.
This was a natural, flower rich, calcareous grassland, kept free of scrub by being mowed for hay once or twice a year. Amongst the native grasses grew wild oregano, eryngo, bedstraws, scabious, umbellifers and Lizard Orchids. Their foliage fed Lesser Bloody Nosed Beetles and Field Crickets, sheltered Large Blue butterfly eggs and Wasp Spiders waiting for young grasshopper prey. The flowers were visited by Burnet Companion moths and Glanville Fritillary butterflies. I've taken many, many photos in these fields, but there won't be any more. This habitat has now been destroyed and has gone forever. People think natural grassland is everywhere, but in fact it is probably the most at risk habitat in Europe.
The tractor driver waved cheerily as I passed.