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
In 2022 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 trialled letting 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.
In 2023 we extended the trial further with our Let It Bee project which included 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.
You can see where they are by downloading the maps below:
- Abingdon – Abbey Meadow
- Abingdon – Fitzharris Estate
- Abingdon – Oxford Road
- Abingdon – Rye Farm
- Abingdon – Tilsley Park
- Abingdon – White Horse Leisure Centre
- Faringdon – Marlborough Gardens
- Wantage – Mably Way
- Wantage – Manor Road
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.
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 before the end of the year once the wildflowers have set seed.
Our other wildlife areas
More questions answered about our wildlife meadows project on our FAQs page.
How can I get involved?
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.”
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