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South Somerset District Council leaves space to go wild

| District

In response to our declaration of a climate and ecological emergency, and in line with our commitment to create biodiverse areas for wildlife to thrive, SSDC are trialling a number of changes to the way some green spaces across the district are managed.

In support of Plantlife’s ‘No Mow May’ project, SSDC are implementing a No Mow Trial, by letting the flowers bloom and species prosper across certain SSDC-owned spaces, ensuring the areas provide a vital source of sustenance for our pollinators and new habitat for all species.

We’ll be changing our mowing routine at specific areas in Castle Cary, Ansford, Milborne Port, Cucklington and Ilminster to allow wild plants to flower and then set seed, hopefully creating enough nectar for ten times more bees and other pollinators. You’re also more likely to spot a greater variety of flowers popping up in your community over the seasons now that these areas are not being cut five times a year.

This No Mow conservation project has been developed in collaboration with South Somerset communities, parish and town councils and our skilled grass cutting crews here at SSDC.

The aim is to bring increased biodiversity to our towns and villages. As part of our Environment Strategy we stated ‘our aspiration is to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it’, and we hope this trial is the beginning of how we see much more of our marginal grassland managed in the future.

You can join in too! Anyone with a patch of land, however small, can do this. Mark out your area and leave it to thrive through the summer and beyond. Join us on this journey to help re-wild and return some of our verges and lesser used pieces of land back to nature. You can find everything you need to know about No Mow May and how to mow your lawn for wildlife here.

Canva image with wildflowers

Councillor Sarah Dyke at a wildflower no mow area

Councillor Sarah Dyke, SSDC’s portfolio holder for Environment, said: “This past year has made us all realise the importance and benefits of nature more than ever. During lockdown we saw how the natural world thrived when not interfered with by humans. The SSDC No Mow trials are a way we can reassess how and where we mow SSDC land, it will inspire us to look at marginal spaces in a different way, and break the habitual cycle of mowing for mowing’s sake, by allowing them to become biodiverse havens for wildlife.”

SSDC Horticulture Specialist, Stephen Fox, said: “Our team is looking forward to altering the cutting regimes and monitoring how the verges and open spaces respond to this new approach. We do appreciate that this change might generate some interest as residents start to see our green areas looking different, we are always happy to answer questions on our approach and we will use all our learning from this year to inform even wider programmes for next year.  Thanks to all the parishes and groups who have stepped forward to be part of the trials, by demonstrating how valuable this approach will be for wildlife, linking up spaces for nature, we hope many more areas will be on board for next year”

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