Being retired I go out most days for a cycleride near Garstang in Lancashire. Usually I cover 20 to 40 miles and average about10 mph. I don’t cycle for speed but to explore and make great use of OS maps.
Recently I have been looking more and more at verges with their variety of flowers and change of flora during the seasons. Often it is fantastic to see what is there. I also note mammals and birds,and had a close shave last year when a buzzard missed me by inches!
Sadly in the last few months I have a spate of phantom mowers who strip the verges of all greenery and don’t give a damn about flowers.
As a result of finding so many flowers decapitated and mangled I wrote a blog last month
I often end up in Lane Ends Amenity area near Pilling, which is totally man-made and has two lakes. The material was used to make sea defences. At any time of the year there is something to see but the best is March to July as these photos show
In March and April the central “meadow” is covered in cowslips and then other flowers take over, most notably Southern marsh Orchids and some hybrids. There are a large number of them, but some vandal dug up the biggest clump in May.
There are also scabious, poppies, red and white campions. moon daisies, bacon-and-egg and other flowers
I visited again on Thurs 11th June and enjoyed the various flowers. I then cycled out of the entrance where a week earlier I saw these lovely southern Marsh Orchids in short grass on the verge.
i have to admit I felt a sense of foreboding as I cycled out on to the road (entrance is by the clump of white moon daisies at the end of the road.) Sadly my foreboding was justified. Gone were the 25-30 orchids and only two were still standing.
This photo shows the area mowed – just a narrow strip of grass, no more than 9 inches high.
Here is the damage.
The left photo shows one survivor and the right a mangled orchid.
Here is a flower I put on top of a post – rather like an executioner’s block and another lying forlornly on the ground..
More decapitated orchids
These two photos are looking eastwards to the Lane End’s entrance. It was mowed on both sides, but on the left they stopped before the daisies. Even so there was no need to more.
The second shows the strip with orchids with another survivor.
Another view looking east, with the large white clump of moon daisies in the distance.
It shows the contrast of the mown and unknown verge and the height of the original verge.
While taking photos a dog-walker went past and she told me that the Environment Agency had come to mow it in the morning. I am not convinced that it was the EA, as if so some of their operatives will be in serious trouble. I hope.
I peddled off in a filthy mood and later looked at the flowers on the embankment beyond Fluke Hall.
On Friday I sent another email to my Wyre Councillor and hope for an explanation .
I put details on twitter so various councils and environmental groups could see yet another example of damage caused by mowing.
Mark Billington Corporate Director Environment tweeted to me on the matter twice on 12th June;
Michael – I understand your concerns but I do not believe that this work has been undertaken by Wyre Council.
It appears to be a highway verge@wyrecouncil do not control all grass cutting within the Wyre area.
At present I cannot find out who mowed it. Maybe an FOI to Wyre council may help?
This spring I have been appalled at the vandalistic mowing of verges in my part of Lancashire – Fylde and Wyre Council areas.
The decapitation of these orchids is only the worst example I have found on my travels.
Only on occassion did I see Wyre workmen mowing – with limited sensitivity.
Most of the time I cannot work out who did the mowing but it is often excessive cutting 6 feet or more of verges when 2 to 3 foot would be ample by any standards. The usual answer is for safety and visibility, but that would only apply to verges by road junctions.
Sadly this story is repeated throughout the country.
It does seem that those who mow have had no training on the value of wildflowers and other flora, not only in themselves but also to encourage bees , other insects, small mammals and birds, and don’t seem to get beyond “tidiness”.
I also reckon that local councils are shirking their responsibilities.