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Meadow creation pilots 2020

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. The Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019, and 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 bee 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.

Meadow locations

The meadows will initially be created on areas of Council owned land in Grange Drive, Leycroft Grove and Moorfields, Taunton; Gay Street, Wellington; and at Seaward Way, and Culvercliffe, Minehead.

The 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 on 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 amount 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 and 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, so users of the open spaces can walk amongst the grass and flowers, enjoy the surroundings and spot wildlife.

We will also be cutting grass around all amenities such as football goals and playgrounds as we have before.

Creation of 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 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 seed out we do the main cut. This will also takes the grass down to the ground. We will leave for the seeds to settle and then go over the top with a collect machine.

If we are to continue, we may need to sow again at the beginning of the 2021 season, depending on how well the seed has taken.

Providing feedback

Ongoing feedback is encouraged via our general enquires online form. Please check back regularly to this page, where we will publish progress and comments on any feedback we have received.