West Swindon Parish Council

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You may have seen the grass growing longer in certain parts of the Shaw Ridge Linear Park.  

Members of the Council's Leisure and Amenities Committee have been  trialling the introduction of wild flower meadows on Shaw Ridge. The aim is to support bio diversity and a natural habitat whilst also bringing a mix of management to our green open spaces.  We are lucky to have the project supported by John Ball from Swindon FAB and willing volunteers  (Barry and Lynne) who help look after the meadows and the copse on Shaw Ridge.

These areas of grass were left uncut until July to reduce the quality of nutrients in the soil.  This is necessary in order to create an environment where wild flowers could flourish in the grass.  We also needed to find someone who would be able to cut and bale the grass as our usual grass cutting machinery cannot do this.

We were lucky to have the Rummings family from Lydiard Turkeys farm help us with this important part of the project.  Farm machinery came up on the ridge and a total of seventeen bales of grass were produced.   It was an usual sight in middle of West Swindon.  Our thanks to the farm for supporting this project.

We will now monitor how the grass recovers and may return to normal cutting or if the weather changes significantly, we may introduce a second cut and bale in the Autumn.  Over the next 18 months, you will start to see the signs of wildflowers across the ridge.  We have already seen ringlets, meadow browns and small skipper - all butterflies associated with long grass as well as damselflies and hawker dragonflies.

We hope that you will enjoy this approach to open spaces in the Linear Park and we welcome your feedback.  If you would like to join the Conservation and Wildflower volunteers, please get in touch with the Parish Office.  The group meets once a month.

Long grass in the meadow
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Bales underway
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