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Members of council staff standing beside a newly prepared area of soil and grass in Romsey Abby churchyard

Council grass cutting schedules to be relaxed through Spring and Summer to help wildlife thrive

Test Valley Borough Council will once again be relaxing its current grass cutting schedules across a number of sites between May and September. This will create urban meadows, which are more wildlife friendly and provide a longer season of nectar for pollinators.

The council has been increasing the amount of urban meadow it creates each year since 2021. This year, it will be letting a total of 44 hectares in Andover, Romsey and Valley Park grow wilder – that’s more than 82 football fields of grass that will be left unmown until September, when it will be cut and collected. This approach will reduce the number of visits for mowing and allow grasses and plants to develop, providing valuable habitat for insects and birds.

The sites are typically on the edges of open spaces and verges so as not to impact on activities like dog walking or on recreation space. Some sites, like the North Churchyard at Romsey Abbey have been planted with meadowscape wildflower mix to boost their diversity and ecological value and create a scenic route through a colourful, nectar-rich wildflower meadow. In other sites the longer grass and native wildflowers also have great value as a habitat for pollinators.

Council staff will monitor each of the sites over the summer and make a record of any notable plant species. Anyone who would like to help with monitoring local wildlife can get in touch through the Council’s Citizen Science programme on

Everyone can also help out by putting the mower away and taking part in Plantlife’s No Mow May, a movement that encourages everyone in the UK to rewild their lawns and let wild plants get a head start on the summer. Why? Because we’ve lost approximately 97 percent of flower-rich meadows since the 1930s and the vital food needed by pollinators, like bees and butterflies.

With over 20 million gardens in the UK, even the smallest grassy patches add up to a significant proportion of our land which, if managed properly, can deliver enormous gains for nature, communities and the climate. Pledge your very own pollinator haven at or email for more information or to ask questions about any specific areas of urban meadow.

Cllr Terese Swain, Portfolio Holder for Community and Leisure said:

"By letting the grass in your garden grow wild for just one month, you can help support biodiversity and create a haven for pollinators like bees and butterflies.

“As a Council, our commitment to creating increasing amounts of urban meadows each year supports pollinators at the time they are most active. We do need to keep cutting quite a number of verges for safety reasons but our longer-term plan will see a much larger area of urban meadow created across the borough.”

You can find downloadable maps of the sites to be left unmown on the council’s website at: