This is a trial scheme for us, and we are doing it with the help of the Somerset Wildlife Trust. Longer grass and trees improve biodiversity, help create new habitats for threatened species of wildlife, as well as fight climate change.
Somerset’s Councils declared a Climate Emergency in 2019. This work is part of the Council’s commitment to protecting and improving biodiversity, identified as a priority in the emerging climate change strategy.
Wildflower meadows provide shelter and food for important pollinators, and in particular, bees. There are over 250 species of bees in the UK, and they play a vital part in supporting the ecosystem. The UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows since the 1930s.
The meadows will initially be created on areas of Council owned land in:
- Grange Drive, Elmcroft Grove, Moorfields, Taunton
- Gay Street, Wellington
- Seaward Way and Culvercliffe, Minehead
Somerset Council will also be setting aside wild areas in its Green Flag accredited parks at Taunton’s Vivary, Victoria, Comeytrowe and French Weir parks, as well as Wellington Park and Swains Lane Nature Reserve in Wellington.
Information about the trial
For wildflowers to be successful, they need poor soil. If the soil where we sow is healthy and fertile, it may take some time to create the habitat that benefits wildlife. With the help of the Somerset Wildlife Trust, we need to understand the environments and learn as we go. We want to get it right in a few areas before deciding whether to increase the number of areas we manage in this way.
Also, we want to make sure that residents and users of the open spaces are happy and supportive of the meadows. Ongoing feedback is encouraged via the link at the bottom of the page.
Access to the meadows
Yes – as part of our design, paths will be cut through and around the meadows. Users of the open spaces can walk amongst the grass and flowers, enjoying the surroundings and spot wildlife.
We will also be cutting grass around all amenities such as football goals and playgrounds as we have before.
Creating the meadows
Depending on weather and ground conditions, we will prepare and sow the areas during March and April. This will involve one cut and collect, cut tight to the ground. We will then go over with a small tractor and rotovator to cultivate the ground and prepare tilth.
Wildflower seeds will then be sown using a sowing machine.
At the end of season, we will cut with an allen scythe to shake the seeds out when we do the main cut. This will also take the grass down to the ground. We will leave the seeds to settle and then go over the top with a collect machine.
If we continue, we may need to sow again at the beginning of the 2021 season, depending on how well the seeds have taken.
Please check this page regularly – we will publish progress and comments about any feedback we have received.