Lavenham: Wildlife initiative embraced

Volunteers planting at Lavenham as part of Babergh's long grass campaign.

Volunteers planting at Lavenham as part of Babergh's long grass campaign. - Credit: Archant

HORTICULTURAL officers have decided to let the grass grow long in the Babergh area to help create wildlife-friendly spaces.

The move is in response to a number of campaigns by organisations such as The Royal Horticultural Society and Suffolk Wildlife Trust. The trust is keen to create a county-wide “joined up” landscape where species can expand their range via networks of linked habitat.

To support the idea, Babergh’s horticultural officers decided to trial the long -grass initiative last year in selected areas of Lawshall and Long Melford. While they recognised that a clean green expanse of grass was of little use to wildlife, they were worried that the long-grass areas could appear untidy or overgrown. The trial was designed to establish if the initiative was a realistic approach.

During the trial, instead of mowing certain areas 14 times during the growing season, the grass was cut and collected just once in August/September. Feedback from the trial has enabled Babergh to revise the long-grass areas in Long Melford for this summer, and to begin working with local residents to plant wild flowers. Lavenham villagers have embraced the concept, and last month a hardy group of volunteers braved the falling snow to plant their first wild flower meadow, with donations of wild flower plant plugs from Babergh and from residents’ own gardens.

Horticultural officer Jo Seymour said: “Our residents really care about where they live – not just about what it looks like outside their windows, but how to combine this with helping our native wildlife, which is genuinely struggling with a whole range of issues.”