How important are our lawns for looking after nature? Heidi Dalgarno from the Somerset Wildlife Trust Youth Forum explains...

MORE often than not, when you hear about spaces being “restored for nature”, they are referring to a distant site which - although undoubtedly valuable - has a negligible impact on your everyday life.

You could visit a nationally-renowned site today, right here in Somerset and see more bees and butterflies than you would ever see back home.

But, that is one day and you spend many hundreds hardly leaving our urban jungle.

Here, I present an example of a well-known solution to this quandary: not mowing the unassuming lawn.

According to Plantlife (creator of No Mow May, which has led to No Mow Summer), less lawn mowing can supply ample nectar sugar for ten times the amount of pollinators than previously.

Just imagine if this happened across the roughly 23 million gardens we have in the UK! Not to mention the 200,000 hectares of roadside verges we have as well.

Although it wouldn’t be quite like the rolling meadows you might see in the country, it’s a definite start to encourage more wildlife into our towns and cities. 

The benefits of long grass to wildlife are incontrovertible: as well as being vital corridors through our urban areas for a multitude of species, a recent study revealed that urban gardens with long grass had an 18 per cent increase in butterfly abundance compared to those that mow regularly. 

That isn’t to say we should commit all of our grass to this, even just a sunny unmown corner in every garden and park will greatly benefit pollinators.

Moreover, Plantlife states that having ‘various grass lengths creates lots of different microhabitats’, so, in reality, having some lawn that is mown regularly will actually benefit wildlife, rather than hinder it, as different wildflowers will thrive in each of these different lengths. 

Sanctuaries for nature don’t always have to be country estates with sprawling acres; they can be as simple as a patch of grass, which is just left to grow.