Before the development of Stevenage new town, much of the land that it was built on was managed for agriculture and was, no doubt, far richer in wildflowers than we see in our town today. But the historic close mown management of our green spaces has not enabled many wildflowers to grow, flower and seed.
Since 2011 we have been working to reverse the trend and bring areas of meadow grassland back to Stevenage. Rather than cutting the grass regularly during spring and summer we have left some areas and just cut and cleared them in the autumn. A few sites are cut on a cyclical basis every 2-3 years so that the grassland provides habitat for overwintering insects.
In the last few years we have managed the following sites in this way:
- Six Hills Way, adjacent to Whomerley Wood
- Six Hills Way, adjacent to Ashtree Wood
- Fairlands Valley Park
- Symonds Green Common
- Town Centre Gardens
- Six Hills Common
- Fishers Green Common
- Poplars Meadow
- Hampson Park
- Shephalbury Park
- Weston Road Cemetery
Where we manage grasslands for wildlife we follow advice from the Wildlife Trust and usually leave them to grow naturally for at least two years so that any naturally occurring wildflowers have the opportunity to grow.
We adopted this approach on the Six Hills Way roadside verge, adjacent to Whomerley Wood. This verge was left to grow during the spring and summer 2011, only being cut and cleared later on in the autumn. The following spring Herts Middlesex & Wildlife Trust undertook a floral survey of the site. They found enough key indicator species to warrant the site being designated a Local Wildlife Site.
If no naturally occurring wildflowers are evident after the first couple of years we will consider sowing the area with a suitable wildflower seed mix.
Use the links below to see areas of the parks that are being maintained as meadow grass.
We listened to feedback about the new areas that we managed for wildlife in 2021. As a result, in 2022 we are reducing the areas of meadow grassland in many of our parks to ensure that there is greater space for recreation. However, more verges will be managed for wildlife instead.