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Grass cutting

We are responsible for cutting grass on some – but not all public land in the district.

Housing associations, town and parish councils and Oxfordshire County Council also carry out grass cutting on land they own or manage, including public roads. 

It’s important for us to keep grass short in areas where people exercise or relax to ensure these areas are suitable and safe for public use. We mow these areas around 15 times a year. Other urban areas which have less formal use, but still need maintaining are mowed eight times a year.

However, some areas are now being mowed a lot less …

Our ‘Let It Bee’ project

Last year we supported the national ‘No Mow May’ campaign organised by conservation charity, Plantlife. Their campaign aims to encourage people to mow less during May to help enhance biodiversity.

When lawns and other grassy areas are kept short through very regular mowing, wild plants don’t get the chance to grow, flower and seed.

So in May 2022 we had an initial idea to support ‘No Mow may and do a trial and let the grass grow on five sections of land we own in Abingdon, Faringdon and Wantage, with one or two cuts at the beginning and end of the growing season. This allowed wild plants and flowers to grow, which was good news for insect life, particularly pollinators such as bees and birds.

This year we have extended this trial further with our new Let It Bee project which will include a total of nine sites across the district.

These will be carefully managed and monitored with the aim of increasing wildlife, as well allowing the existing plants to thrive by not being cut so often. This should make the plants and soil better able to withstand periods of extreme weather.

Where are our Let It Bee areas?

We have chosen locations which do not impact on pedestrians or sightlines for drivers and are also near shorter grass areas and pathways for people wishing to exercise, play or relax.    

There will be signs available at the sites denoting the areas, but you can see where they are by downloading the maps below:
Please note on the maps where there is green and yellow shading:

The green area is land we maintain.

The yellow area is the Let It Bee land.

If you have a garden, you can do your bit for the environment also.  The RSPB says: “Mowing your lawn less… makes a big difference to the wildlife in your garden. Create a mini jungle for beetles and other small creatures to wander and where sparrows and goldfinches can come to feed on the seeds. The grasses will set seed, wildflowers can bloom and provide nectar, and the longer stems will create a sheltered microclimate.”

Our wildflower meadows

We have six designated areas in Vale that are are wildflower meadows where we sow flower seeds and only cut the grass three times during the year – at the beginning and end of the growing season in around March and October, plus a cut and rake up in September once the wildflowers have set seed. There is a new site being created at Heron’s Walk in Abingdon.

Our other wildlife areas

At  Abbey Gardens and Abbey Meadow, Abingdon, Folly Park, Faringdon and Manor Road Memorial Park, Wantage we have been working to manage these areas for people and nature.

More questions answered about our Let It Bee project on our FAQs page.

How can I get involved?

Tips for homeowners with lawns who wish to take part in No Mow May …. or Let It Bee 

Information for town and parish councils and other organisations wishing to enhance biodiversity on their land by managing it and mowing less. See Plantlife resources for communities page

Contact us - Parks

01235 422404
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)