Semi-natural neutral grasslands are found primarily on deep but well-drained soils and, although well distributed, are much less common than agriculturally improved grasslands. Most Welsh hay meadows are on neutral soils within enclosed land parcels in the lowlands: neutral grassland is much less common in the uplands. Welsh hay meadows are typically managed by mowing – followed by aftermath grazing, i.e. where animals are in to graze after the hay cut. The grazing animals are then excluded from the meadow during the growth period. The best meadows have historically received few or no fertiliser applications. The more recognisable reference states and modified states for hay meadows and pastures are described below. The key criteria for assessing the quality of neutral grasslands are: 1) the ratio of forbs to grasses (where grasses should not be dominant); 2) the species-composition of the sward, i.e. it retains a good cover of neutral grassland indicators – with indicators of eutrophication rare or absent, and 3) the area of the habitat patch meeting the first two criteria.