There has been a sad little story in the Press over the last couple of days about the hamlet of Owermoigne. Apparently Dorset Council have failed to mow the grass – and weeds – for eight months, although they promised to mow it seven times a year. The BBC website shows pictures of waist high grass and dock. This has meant the village has had to withdraw from a “best kept village competition”, although since the story broke the council has cut it again.
Why is this a sad little story? Firstly, if the council hadn’t mowed the bejeesus out of the village verges over the years this problem would not exist. There would be a riot of wildflowers instead of the only weeds and grasses aggressive enough to have survived this regime. Taking a “hay cut” after mid July and just keeping them tidy throughout the autumn and winter would have saved the taxpayer a small fortune too. Plantlife have been promoting proper verge management to encourage wildflowers and – who knows – it might catch on.
Secondly, if the verges of Owermoigne had been managed in a low cost wildflower friendly way over the years, you know what? I bet there’s no way the village would have won awards in the best kept village competition in 2004, 2005 and 2011. That’s the really depressing thing; it seems like we want all of our public spaces to look like the playing fields we no longer have.