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Wildlife/Wild Plants, joined up thinking

Having enjoyed several recent segments on Springwatch, Gardener's World and this week's BBC doco on the Painted Lady butterfly, highlighting the value of unkempt areas and weeds to native wildlife, we've been jealously guarding our lane verge, containing cow parsley, bramble, thistle and nettle. It has to be said we felt some pressure as our neighbours have trimmed their sections of verge to dirt level, which they perceive as 'tidy'.
We live in a country area on a no-through lane, and opposite farming fields. The understory wild plants reached no more than waist height and in their situation did not pose a hazard to motorists. However, this morning, at the height of the bird fledging and butterfly pupating season, the council came along and slashed our verge right back to the ground. Smashing all the brambles, thistles and nettles to a pulp.


  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,855
    Is it your verge or the council's verge?

    My parents used to have a similar problem. A couple of residents wanted to get a prettiest village award and didn't consider wild flowers 'pretty'. Only neatly trimmed grass met their aesthetic standards. Sometimes though you just need to keep things neat at the front and save the wild areas for the back garden just to keep people happy. I think attitudes are starting to change slowly though.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,169
    Contact your District Councillor ... explain what you are trying to do and try to come to a joint strategy for ‘your’ verge. Sometimes also a neat notice stating that it is a ‘wildlife area’ or some-such can help. 
    Council workman are often damned if they do and damned if they don’t ... communication and liaison is the key 👍 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,855
    Council workmen would mow their own grandmother if she stood in long grass wearing a green dress.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • Council verge. I assume they are well within their rights.
    It's just that it only 'benefits' about four houses, and stretches no more than about 100 metres, meanwhile it was no doubt supporting butterflies and insects, we have sparrows and blackbirds feeding young, swifts and house martins, wrens, a small community of bats living in one of the houses. If you walked along the verge it was alive with small birds using it as safe cover.
    I'm gutted, they've raised it to the ground this morning.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 82,169
    Problem is council workmen aren’t allowed to make their own decisions about what and what not to mow.

     If they’re going to leave something uncut someone in authority has to tell them very clearly. 

    After all ... they could lose their job if they don’t do the job they’ve been told to do. 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • I'm definitely NOT blaming the workman. It's obviously a local council issue.
    I have only lived here a few years and I can't remember if they slashed our verge last year, I don't think they did. We're on a tiny no-through side road, so it's not going to be a standard priority.
    The BBC have highlighted the need to preserve wild areas of native plants, in Gardener's World, Springwatch, Countryfile and other programmes recently. And therefore it's just frustrating to witness it being destroyed to suit the 'tidy' narrative, especially as insects and farmland birds are dropping dramatically in numbers. 
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 8,855
    If the council own it then they might have their own reasons to keep it cut. Most councils now seem pretty switched on when it comes to leaving areas like that if they can and it also helps to save them money. Maybe you need to speak to them directly and put a case forward to having it left for longer next year. Maybe another resident has been more vocal about the 'mess'.
    Tradition is just peer pressure from dead people
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,462
    I had words with a council mower man and now he doesn't use spray in front of my property, and the mowerman leaves the daffs to die back naturally.
  • Yes, I could talk to the council. I feel like other residents viewed it as an eyesore.
    I just needed to share my frustration with someone this morning.
    Also, it might have more value for BBC presenters to target local councils more than us individual viewers, because no doubt if I lobbied my council, the vast majority of rate payers would still view thistles and nettles as a problem that needs fixing, not a valuable habitat for wildlife.
  • LoxleyLoxley NottinghamPosts: 4,972
    edited July 2019
    Maybe you could manage the area as a spring flowering meadow - which would entail cutting it at about this time of year anyway.

    I know people like to have nettles 'for wildlife' - but it's not like there's a national shortage of nettles. Flowering meadows are possibly scarcer and therefore more valuable. Also the little bit of active maintenance, and attractive flowers, might make your neighbours feel more positive about what you are doing.
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