In 2020 the Parish Council embarked on a programme to promote the growth of wildflowers in the Parish, with a subsequent improvement in habitats for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Since the 1930s 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost due to changes in countryside and urban management. Many meadows were ploughed up after the Second World War to produce monocultures of cereals, with increasing use of herbicides. Others are fertilised and cut to provide winter feed for cattle. Wildflowers cannot compete with actively growing grasses.
The Parish Council currently has licences from Kent County Council so that we can maintain the banked verge at the village end of Childsbridge Lane and the verge opposite the White Rock Inn at Underriver, amongst others. You will see the ‘DO NOT CUT’ signs here. We have also been working on the triangle of grass below the playground on Seal Recreation Ground. Following discussions with Sevenoaks District Council and the Kent Wildlife Trust the lower section of the common in Godden Green is being left to grow, again to promote wildflower growth.
The aim is to restrict grass cutting to March and September each year, removing the cuttings to reduce the nutrient content of the soil to reduce grass growth and encourage that of wildflowers. The lower end of the triangle will need cutting more frequently for a year or two as the grass here is too long and dense for wildflowers to compete. We have added some native wildflower seeds to part of Childsbridge Lane verge and the recreation ground to increase the number of species thus extending the availability of nectar and pollen from early spring right through to the autumn.
We are also holding sessions for residents to visit our sites, identify the wildflowers and grasses and occasionally help with the maintenance of these areas for those who would like to volunteer. In a recent count we found 59 species of wildflowers and grasses on the Underriver verge and 24 on the Godden Green site. We will advertise these sessions through the Parish website’s News section, the Advertiser, KYN and other local groups.
Parish Clerk: Mrs Clare Boland
Valley House, Carters Hill, Underriver, Sevenoaks, Kent TN15 0RY
Phone: 01732 833360
Office hours: Monday • Tuesday • Thursday • Friday – 9:00am – 1:00 pm
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