Hugh’s wildflowers have to be cut back after complaints

Hugh Cripps with the verge outside his home in Casterton Road, Stamford, which he was using as a wildflower verge until he was ordered to cut it'Photo; MSMP170812-011js
Hugh Cripps with the verge outside his home in Casterton Road, Stamford, which he was using as a wildflower verge until he was ordered to cut it'Photo; MSMP170812-011js
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A NATURE enthusiast who let a verge outside his home grow to show off wildflowers has been forced to mow it after passers-by complained.

Hugh Cripps asked Lincolnshire County Council for permission to let the verge outside his home in Casterton Road, Stamford, grow to see if any wildflowers would bloom.

The verge in Casterton Road, Stamford, which was left uncut to let wildflowers flourish

The verge in Casterton Road, Stamford, which was left uncut to let wildflowers flourish

The council agreed to Hugh’s idea on a trial basis, but said that if any complaints were received he would have to mow the verge again.

The trial began in March and Hugh, who set up the Stamford RiverCare group to look after the waterways in the town, was delighted with the initial results.

He said: “The ever-changing display of native wild flowers was wonderful, starting with primroses and cowslips in March and April, changing to purple bugle, yellow and red hawkbits and the blues of scabious and knapweed.

“This is just a very small number of the flowers, all already growing in the verge, a remnant of the wildflower meadows that would have previously encircled our town.

“Of course where you have the flowers you attract the animals that feed on them. Sure enough the verge buzzed with bumblebees, honey bees and hoverflies, chirped with grasshoppers and even a frog, and of course played host to the elegant butterflies.”

Hugh decided to keep a mowed strip of grass between the path and the uncut section, to stop plants falling on to the path and to ensure it looked tidy.

But he was dismayed to learn that several people had complained to the county council about the verge.

He added: “As agreed I duly cut the verge and removed the hay, a month or so before the majority of flowers had had a chance to set seed.

“While raking up the hay, seven people stopped and asked why I had cut the flowers down as they all thought it was lovely and a vast improvement on the adjacent close mown sections. Not one person stopped to say they preferred the tidier look.”

Hugh is keen to know what others who saw his verge think, and wants those who enjoyed the wildflowers to write to their county councillor to ask for a change in the management of verges.

He said: “I can understand some people liking the manicured look but at a time when wildlife is under such pressure both globally and here in the UK, don’t we think we could make a bit more space for the butterflies and bees in our towns and gardens?”

The county council confirmed that it had allowed the trial to take place, but had received complaints from people who said it was “not in keeping for Stamford”.