Local residents have raised concerns about the grass cutting at Sutherland Grange. Usually this might be because it’s not been done… these comms were about the long grass being cut and residents concerns for wildlife.
I knew the best man to ask and this is what he had to say… the video was shot a couple of months back… the words a direct response to my question about the cut.
Portions of Sutherland Grange and designated as nature reserve due to the species rich meadow areas. These areas require careful management to maintain their wildlife value and part of the management is an annual cut and bale where portions of the meadow are cut and all the grass removed from the site so as to reduce the nutrient build-up which is detrimental to meadow wildflowers.
This annual cut is done in rotation so some areas of long grass are maintained through the winter as habitat for small mammals such as field mice and voles which in turn are an important food source for owls and other predators. These areas will be cut the following year and others areas left in rotation.
The field margins are often left for several years to allow some scrub habitat to develop. Scrub is also valuable for wildlife and many birds are dependent on this habitat for nesting and hunting. The White Throat in particular is a small bird that requires area of scrub to nest and forage.
These scrub areas will be carefully monitored so as not to develop into closed canopy woodland which would result in the loss of all these associated species.
It can be tricky to strike the right balance but hopefully it’s working at Sutherland Grange and the discovery of a new orchid patch earlier in the year was encouraging.
Hope this is helpful.
Parks & Countryside Team