Tunbridge Wells Commons Conservators Header

Wildflower Experiment
Autumn 2012

The experiment has yielded some very interesting results and pointed the way quite clearly.

In their meeting on 25 October, the Conservators decided to continue the experiment for three years on the portion of Inner London Road between Church Road and the bottom of the hill as it has shown some very promising results.  Over the next three years we hope to improve the range of wildflowers by selective planting and sowing of seed.  The area wll still be mown short after the seeds have set in late summer.

At the same time they decided not to continue the experiment on the other areas further up the hill, or on the two triangles by Vale Road as the soil has been too disturbed in places, and there were very few wildflowers growing there naturally.

However, a new experiment will also be started on the opposite side of London Road above the coach park as it is hoped that the heathland soil there is relatively undisturbed.  This experiment will also run for three years.

Early summer 2012

The areas of grass alongside London Rd are being left to grow this year in what is being described as an experiment in biodiversity. With the urging of the Bloom Committee, we are aiming to develop wildflower meadows on these areas. This is quite a long term project; we will allow the grass to grow this year to see what is already there, and then in August, when any seeds have set, we will bring in the big cutter to cut and remove all the grass, a little like managing a hay meadow. This has the advantage of removing nutrients from the soil which will gradually allow the finer grasses and flowers to flourish and not be out-competed by the coarser species. We will be keeping the edges closely trimmed and will cut paths across, and, if the experiment is popular, we could add in other species of plant by simply plug-planting them in.

The photographs below show the areas that will remain uncut; follow the links to the maps to see the paths we will cut in to enable crossing without trampling the flowers or getting your feet wet (although these may change, depending on how they are used). 

Map of Vale Road

Map of Inner London Road from the bottom to Church Road

Map of Church Road to York Road

Map of York Road to Lime Hill Road

Please contact us at info@twcommons.org to let us know your views, both now and later this year.

This is the text from the notice that has just been put up at the areas that will remain uncut this year:

An Experiment in Biodiversity!
Some of the larger areas of grass on this verge have deliberately been left uncut. Allowing the grass to grow longer will enable us to see what wild flowers and grasses there are and to assess whether it might be possible to return these areas to flower meadows. 
This would create a more attractive landscape with seasonal wildflowers that will attract many more insects, including butterflies and moths, making a positive contribution to local biodiversity.
The edges and pathways will continue to be mown regularly, and the longer areas will be cut later in the year. The pattern of mowing may be adjusted depending on what we find and how people use the area.
If this experiment is successful and people value the changes then it is hoped to continue it over the following years, improving the range and numbers of suitable wildflowers with the help of local volunteers.
If you would like to follow the project online, find out more about meadows or take part then please go to www.twcommons.org.
If you have any comments please contact the Warden, Steve Budden, or the Conservators by email, phone or letter.

Page last updated: 28/11/2012