Last year Lib Dem Councillor, Tamsin Jackson-Mynott, instigated trials of verge meadows, as an alternative to cropping the grass on a very short cut every few weeks.
The meadow verges being trialed are now in bloom and are thriving with life. Sandwiched between the A1 and B197 there is now a mini meadow full of bees, beetles, damsel flies, moths, butterflies and many more; at Southway there is even more - Knapweed, Vetch, Red Clover, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Hawksbit, Cowslips and a host of fine grasses so important to productive habitats. At the Community Orchard at Woodhall Open Space the pollinators finally have proper habitat to breed - which means more fruit for residents to enjoy!
Tamsin is thrilled with the progress of the meadow verges: “With proper management these will flourish and improve year on year with more flowers and habitat and so more lovely bugs and beasts can thrive within them. In future there may well be some planting required to improve on this year’s success, but given that one update I posted on social media last week had over 250 positive responses so far asking for more, I would love to deliver this for residents.”
Obviously the areas selected for the long meadows are chosen carefully, so as to best benefit people as well as wildlife. The intention is not to have every single verge in town with 3ft tall grassland, but rather to create a harmonious balance for all. Larger road verges connecting our reserves are the ideal places.
Councillor Malcolm Cowan has already pointed out the lack of care the existing contractors, Serco, are putting into verge cutting in WGC as their contract comes to an end. Residents have put forward suggestions for more meadow areas they would like to see, such as Waterside, Herns Way and the A6129 to Stanborough Lakes, which we wholeheartedly support, but no-one wants to see our contractors failing in their duties and this is not an excuse for them to take an ad-hoc approach to maintenance.
Malcolm says, “the meadows are much needed and beautiful. But very small verges in built up areas of the town are not meadow sites. There's no reason they have not been cut other than Serco's incompetence. We need better. I cannot wait to see their contract end”
The perfect solution is a 3" regular cut through the summer months within the smaller town verges to compliment the longer meadow verges in larger areas. This will allow ground cover flowers like Self-heal, Birdsfoot Trefoil and Cinquefoil to flourish, whilst keeping the town neat and tidy. In fact with more flowers and less cropped brown grass the town will be more beautiful than ever!