Tough on crime, soft on nature

Grassland outside Oswestry Police Station has grown into a beautiful wildflower meadow.

Usually mown every couple of weeks, the lawn has been untouched for over a month. Cowslips, pignut, ox-eye daises, bugle, germander speedwell, thyme-leaved speedwell, creeping cinquefoil and sweet vernal grass are flourishing as a result.

“This is very likely an old meadow, undisturbed - apart from mowing - for generations. These plants have now had a chance to flower, which is wonderful. I hope very much that they will be left for a few more weeks, so they can set seed and spread,” said Sarah Gibson, a local resident and spokesperson for Shropshire Wildlife Trust.

Across the UK, more than 98% of ancient flower meadow has been lost through agricultural intensification and building development. To find a little fragment of it right in the middle of Oswestry is wonderful.

Public bodies have a statutory duty to encourage biodiversity, which West Mercia Police is keen to promote. Shropshire Wildlife Trust contacted Timothy Wilson, at Place Partnership, the company that manages the land. He replied saying that he would contact West Mercia Police to see if a change in the mowing regime could be considered, but suggested this might take time.

Leaving part of a lawn to grow is a great way to help wildlife. Long grass and other wildflowers provide food and shelter for numerous tiny insects. And when you have a good insect population, birds, small mammals and hedgehogs will benefit. And who knows? You might be amazed to find a long-dormant meadow of wildflowers suddenly bursts into life

Police station cowslips

Update 20/05/2020

Police station

All but a small island of ox-eye daisies has now been mown in the flower-rich grassland outside Oswestry police station. Glad that something has survived but hoping and working for a truly meadow-friendly mowing strategy next year.