Urban meadows are springing up across the borough and look set to grow in numbers after a successful first year trialling the project by Test Valley Borough Council.
In spring, a change to the frequency of mowing grass was made across seven hectares of green space to encourage the growth of wildflowers and plants. The aim of this change was to help to reduce the number of visits, reducing the amount of CO2 into the atmosphere, and begin to improve the spaces’ biodiversity value.
The sites across the borough include spaces at Picket Twenty, Smannell Road and Beech Hurst Park in Andover, Whitenap Open Space and Abbotswood in Romsey and a number of areas around Valley Park and North Baddesley. Volunteer recorders from Romsey and District Society, The Anton River Conservation Association (TARCA) and a number of local naturalists have been monitoring the sites over the summer and recording what species have popped up.
Now, the council is assessing the sites and looking to increase the area of urban meadows over the next two years with the aim to have a total of 18 hectares of urban meadow space across the borough.
Climate emergency and countryside portfolio holder, councillor Alison Johnston, said: “The work creating these urban meadows has really given a wilder more natural feel to some of our green space. I’m delighted to say that the communities benefitting from these meadows have been positive about this change in management, and we are working to increase the area of meadows over the next two years.
“The benefits are clear to see from an aesthetic point of view, as well as our work on the climate emergency action plan. Reducing our mowing is a step to changing the way we manage our spaces with the climate and environment in mind.
“We are keen to work with communities who have ideas on where mowing could be relaxed to improve biodiversity. Please send ideas for new sites to firstname.lastname@example.org.”