Grassed areas are to be left for nature and wildlife in Sidmouth as councils announce six-month no-mow plan

Multiple grassed areas in Sidmouth are to be left to grow wild for six months each year without being cut or mown, the district council has revealed.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) has named 14 grassy areas that will be ‘allowed to grow to help wildlife and nature flourish in Sidmouth’.

While EDDC said the majority of grass areas owned or managed by the district, or Sidmouth Town Council, would be cut regularly in the growing season, and ‘perhaps more frequently if growing conditions demand it’, the district council has outlined areas ‘identified for nature’ across the Sid Valley it says will stay completely or partly, unmown for six months each year, from April until September, ‘to encourage grasses and wildflowers to flourish’.

EDDC said the wildlife and nature areas will be found alongside more managed public green spaces.

Grass will be managed if it grows onto pavements or roads, and paths could be mown into some overgrown areas.

The ‘Wildlife Improvement Areas’ identified by EDDC are:

  • Alma Lane Field
  • Arcot Road Bank
  • Bowd
  • Brownlands
  • Sid Road (opposite Questant lane)
  • Delderfield Meadow
  • Knapp Pond Nature Reserve
  • Knowle Parkland (Part)
  • Lymebourne (Part)
  • Peak Hill (Part)
  • Salter’s Meadow (Part)
  • Stowford Rise (Part)
  • The Byes Meadows (Part)
  • Tyrell Mead (Part)

An EDDC spokesperson said: “Grassy areas, which will be allowed to grow to help wildlife and nature flourish in Sidmouth, will be signposted with paths maintained and created for everyone’s enjoyment.

“Plans on how the Sid Valley’s green spaces will be managed, for the benefit of residents and nature, are being shared by East Devon District Council and Sidmouth Town Council in a bid to build public confidence.

“In recent years, concerns over how grassy areas are maintained have been raised by some residents.

“The majority of grass areas owned or managed by each council will be cut regularly in the growing season, and perhaps more frequently if growing conditions demand it.

“The aim is for people to be able to enjoy activities, such as walking and relaxing on those green spaces, especially in and around the town and residential areas, as they are of important amenity and recreational value.”

The spokesperson added: “Other areas have been identified for nature across the Sid Valley and will be left to grow naturally between April and September each year to encourage grasses and wildflowers to flourish.

“These areas, known as Wildlife Improvement Areas, will have appropriate signage to inform the public of their designation. In addition, each area will have strips mown next to paved or tarmacked areas so that plants on the edge do not interfere with use of the pathways or reduce visibility.

“In some areas, additional paths will be cut to allow ease of passage and allow people to enjoy walking through areas designated for wildlife. Invasive species will also be managed, as necessary.

“This sustainable practice will help enable wildlife to develop, establish vital habitats for insect pollinators and other wildlife, promote sustainable landscapes and encourage a wide variety of native wildflowers.”

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