Wildflowers bloom in Eastbourne thanks to new mowing regime

Changes to Eastbourne Borough Council’s grass cutting regime are resulting in an abundance of wildflowers and insects in green spaces across the town. 

Many grass areas had to be left uncut during lockdown and this has accelerated the council’s review of its mowing programme for parks, verges and churchyards and its plans to phase in more wildflower growth. 

Councillor Jonathan Dow, Cabinet member for Climate Change, said:

“Seeds and bulbs can remain alive in the soil for many years, waiting for the right conditions to allow them to grow. By cutting grass less frequently, we are creating those conditions and in a short time we are seeing some great results.” 

This change to the cutting regime mirrors the collaboration between the council and St Mary’s, Eastbourne’s 12th century parish church in Church Street, where a wealth of pyramidal orchids have flowered this month. This has been supported by £1,000 funding from ward councillors in Old Town and Upperton. 

The successful scheme at St Mary’s will also see the reintroduction of some wildflower species that once flourished there and measures to increase the already-established breeding colony of swifts, which migrate there during the summer. 

It is hoped that there will be a community event next year to celebrate the rich and diverse nature and heritage of the churchyard so that everyone can come together to have fun and learn more. 

Alongside this, the council’s new pesticide and pollinator strategy is also giving the insect and wildlife population a much better chance to thrive. 

Photo: Pyramidal orchids in St Mary’s Churchyard.