South Shropshire road verge re-wilders left stunned as their hard work is mown down
A group of green-fingered volunteers were dismayed when their wildflower verge was mown down just a few weeks after they had planted more flowers.
The Verginistas at All Stretton have been ‘re-wilding’ the Shrewsbury Road between Church Stretton and All Stretton for several years and take great pride in doing their bit for biodiversity.
Chris Naylor, a founding member of the Verginistas volunteer group, said: "We were all rather shocked and surprised. We put a lot of time and energy and get lots of positive comments.
"We had put up 'No Mow' signs earlier in the year and they were respected, but after that was taken down it was mowed."
The volunteer Friends of the National Trust had joined the team in spending a morning clearing up the grass cuttings and planted donated cowslips, ox-eye daisies, and yellow rattle.
"But after it was mown recently the scene was of the usual grass cuttings strewn all over the place," said Mr Naylor, who added that grass cuttings are detrimental to wildflower growth.
The volunteers are planning to go out again this Friday morning to clear up the mess.
Mr Naylor checked with Church Stretton Town Council to confirm it was not behind the mowing.
Shropshire Council has been contacted for comment.
Mr Naylor, who is standing as the Liberal Democrat candidate in the next General Election but said he did not want to make it a political issue, added: "Surely they should have seen the verge had already been mowed, and put their efforts to good use elsewhere?
"Staff and volunteers from the National Trust kindly lent a hand a few weeks to mow the verge and - very importantly - to clear up the grass cuttings which make it hard for flowers to grow.
"So our local volunteers, about 10 of us, were able to get on with the autumn planting - only to find, a few days later, that the mowers had cut back our baby plants!
“That’s bad news in itself but contractors just left the arisings on the verge - which will make it even harder for the flowers to grow!"
Mr Naylor said he would like to see grass cutters being able to check if an area needs cutting first before doing it.