There is a bank of grass behind where I live. It’s a place that I pass regularly, coming home from work or taking the kids up to a local park. In the spring daffodils light up the grassy hill and then we have the perfect almost feathery orb-shaped dandelions. It’s a place that the kids like to run free.
Normally this area of green is mowed once the daffodils have finished. But now there is a move to keep some of these sorts of spaces – every day but vitally important spaces – a little bit wilder and less manicured. Leaving patches of green where the grasses can grow longer. It means that nature can live a little bit more, less bothered by the arrival of lawn mowers and it helps to create a sense of wildness in our towns and cities.
It’s been really encouraging to see my local council – Bath and North East Somerset – with its ‘wild meadows’ project take an enlightened approach to managing these important green spaces. And credit also to Plantlife for all of there hard work to get meadows and wild plants on the agenda in such a positive way.
Yes there is a need to think about the ascetics of our green spaces but the well documented decline in species and loss of habitats means that urban areas are becoming increasingly important in efforts to stem this loss.
Roundabouts full of wild flowers adding a splash of colour to the daily commute or allowing grasses and plants to grow a little bit wilder is good news in my book. Life would be that much more boring if everything and every-where looked the same.
And as our towns and cities have expanded over the centuries they have gobbled up the countryside. So it feels right and refreshing for local authorities to re-create a sense of the naturalness of the countryside and creating homes for bumblebees, crickets, daisies and grasses and meadow brown butterflies among other species. I’ll often see bats in the autumn at dusk grazing on the bounty of insects on the wing.
Walking home after a hard day staring at my screen at work seeing the slightly chaotic and almost carefree areas on this grassy bank lifts the spirits.
When the sun streams through the leaf-laden trees it shows how we can through simple and important cost-effective solutions create a network of mini nature reserves that come alive on warm spring or summer days.
These places can become little oases in the landscape of housing and roads, helping our well-being and connecting us to nature.