Uncut grass

wild area

A number of Wombourne residents have understandably voiced their concerns over the apparent ‘neglect’ of certain areas of ground adjoining the Brook; some areas are closely mown, while other parts are left to go wild (see the photo above).  This is however a deliberate strategy on the part of the Council.

The South Staffordshire Council, working with the Environment Agency, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and the Friends of Wom Brook  have for some years monitored the Wom Brook and its adjoining banks for the occurrence of different plant and animal species. Significantly the Brook forms an important habitat for an endangered UK mammalian species-a water-dwelling rodent, namely the water vole.

Over the last ten years, numbers of water voles in the UK have declined alarmingly by 90%. This decline has prompted legislation to be passed which empowers Natural England & the Environment Agency to prosecute any individual or organisation that is found removing or killing water voles, or damaging their habitat. Fines up to £5000 may be imposed by the courts in such instances.

Leaving buffer zones of uncut grass, nettles and other plants on the fringes of the Brook provides natural shelter and camouflage for the water voles, helping them to evade predators such as mink, buzzards, dogs and cats.  Elsewhere, larger areas of land have also been left uncut, in order to provide habitats for bees, butterflies and a range of insects that some of our dwindling number of bird species can feed on.

Reducing natural open spaces to lawn-like areas in order to make them appear tidy also destroys vital plant and animal habitats, which in turn has a knock-on effect for bird life-denying them food and ultimately life.

The above photo is taken from near the new Wom Brook finger post where the Wom Brook Walk bisects the South Staffordshire Railway Walk. The pathway leads down to the footbridge over the Wom Brook. Right of picture is the uncut area where a variety of bird life may be observed.

Here are some related links:

Natural England

Environment Agency

Wildlife & Habitats in the West Midlands (Environment Agency)

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust

 South Staffordshire Council/Friends of Wom Brook

2 Replies to “Uncut grass”

  1. It’s all very well tidying up the brook but the local council have now cut down half the trees in the Giggety section. It was slightly overgrown but this time of a year is very important for birds as they’re breeding. God knows how many nests were destroyed when these trees were felled, and the fact that removing them if they contain nests is illegal. Was it the council who authorised it? Surely leaving it til later in the year after the breeding season would be a better solution?

  2. Thank you for your comment.

    You voice the concerns of a number of residents who have approached members of the Friends of Wom Brook about this issue. Please see the blog entry relating to this.

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