We have responsibility for maintaining various types of grass areas which we own or are cut under agreement as described below.
Highway verges in towns
Our contractors cut the verges. Cumbria County Council arrange cutting in rural areas. The Highways Agency cut nearly all the Trunk Road grass verges and some verges are maintained by Parish Councils or Residents Groups.
Cutting is carried out for safety not appearance and some areas are left uncut or only cut once a year to encourage wild flowers.
Cumbria County Council verge maintenance plan
Residential estate grass
Our partners, Continental Landscapes Ltd, mow verges on estates and some highways to ensure people can use roads and pavements safely.
Cutting usually takes place routinely between 1 April and 31 October. However, the actual frequencies may vary according to weather, location of the verge etc.
Every year there is a natural flush of grass which can make it look as if the grass has not been cut. Unfortunately we have limited resources for dealing with this so we try to keep to our schedule. We do not collect cuttings as the cost of collection and disposal is doubled.
Clippings on pavements are usually "blown" off the path back onto the grass area. When we cut the verges we aim to avoid chopping up litter and leaving clumps of grass cuttings on surrounding paths.
Parks and open spaces
These are cut frequently to allow informal use of the area and may have a wild flower area or be entirely cut to wild flower regimes.
The type of mowing regime is chosen according to the location of the park or open space, so areas on rural fringes of urban areas are more likely to be mostly cut to a wildflower regime than are areas close to Town Centres. The overall character of the area is taken into consideration when deciding how to mow the grass.
Bowling/putting greens/pitch and putt course
Grass cutting on fine sports turf, takes place twice a week. Grass is collected and removed.
Grass is cut during the playing season to ensure it doesn’t prevent play. Otherwise cutting takes place in accordance with the regime for the surrounding area.
Grass cutting takes place according to areas of the cemetery which are most used, entrance gate lawns are cut to ornamental lawn standard as are areas which have recent interments.
Some cemeteries have areas of wild flowers or bulbs and these will be cut in accordance with the details on this type of area below.
Wild flower mowing takes place on wide Highway verges, large open spaces and in some areas of traditional parks.
Local authorities have been encouraged to look at grass cutting regimes to support the National Pollinator Strategy and in line with this we reviewed grass cutting across the district and last year adopted a policy that aimed to improve biodiversity of plant and insect species.
As part of this, grass in a selected number of trial areas has been left to grow throughout the season, with either safety cuts around the edges or paths cut through. All the areas are regularly monitored.
We worked with our contractors to trial different forms of management on these sites. The principles behind these trials were:
- to reduce the carbon emissions created by regular cuttings, from both those emitted by the vehicles and machinery, and those created by the decomposition of the grass cuttings (both those collected and those left on-site)
- to increase the diversity of plant species found in the green spaces, benefitting local wildlife and the wider environment to diversify local landscape value
Sites in the trial in Kendal included:
- Hawesmead Park
- Milnthorpe Road
- Shap Road
The grass was left to grow in these areas throughout the season with either safety cuts carried out around the edges, or paths cut through. The results were greatly encouraging. Despite having been maintained for years as regularly mown grass, a viable seed bank still existed on several areas, with wildflowers successfully blooming.