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How we manage our grass

What grass do we manage?

Our teams manage around 1,000 football pitches worth of Council owned land across Plymouth. This includes sports pitches, parks, play areas, wildflower meadows, roadside verges and community spaces.

Plymouth Meadows 2020 - Short Cut from Fotonow CIC on Vimeo.

When the grass will be cut

You will see us cutting grass between March and September but not every grass area needs the same cutting regime.

In our parks and in local areas where grass is used for recreation, we cut grass regularly depending on the ground and weather conditions. 

Grass that is not used for sport or recreation will not receive full cuts and will be managed for nature instead. 

The amenity grass cutting cycle is broken down at a neighbourhood level to help you understand when to expect our grass cutting teams in your area.

As we are working with nature, sometimes the cutting cycle can start earlier or later and during the year it can be impacted by ground and weather conditions. Due to this variability the cycle is indicative by weeks rather than dates.

How the grass will be cut

Grass that is used for recreation is cut on a regular close-mow cycle.

Sports pitches and greens are cut on a suitable cycle to maintain condition for play in season. This varies according to sports type.

Some areas of grass that are not used for recreation or sport are being managed for nature which means we will let the area naturalise and the grass grow longer. 

Grass banks and verges are more use to insects and wildlife than they are to people and so things will look different. We will keep edges tidy on these areas by mowing a managed edge.

We also have over 100 enhanced wildflower meadows across the city.

Grass management map

We have created a map to illustrate which areas of grass we will be regularly cutting and which bits will be left for nature. Everything in yellow will be part of the regular cutting cycle. The orange areas who where we will be edging and the purple are the locations of the designated wildflower meadows.

Plymouth grassland - Overview

  • over 700 hectares of grass
  • 60 per cent managed for people
  • 40 per cent managed for nature
  • 76 sports pitches
  • 120 wildflower meadow sites
  • 22 formal parks
  • 127 play areas
  • Over 2,000 roadside verges and other amenity space.

Benefits for people and wildlife

  • increase plant and insect species diversity
  • increase carbon capture
  • more opportunities for
    • connection with nature
    • interest and colour in urban environments
    • staff to do other green estate works.

Here are a playlist of videos that we produced in 2022 to show the effect that our policy was having on nature.

Feedback and recognition

"I'm not massively into nature but I have noticed more wildlife in my areas since we have left areas to grow longer..." PCC staff

"We are looking forward to sharing your learning to support other local authorities" National Trust

"...counted 100 species of plant in the mile I walk from my house" resident, Eggbuckland

"This (regime) enables wildlife to move around the city, through the city and into the city" Buglife

"Plymouth City Council's approach to mowing is to be applauded for supporting our nature recovery and bringing nature close to communities" The Wildlife Trusts, Devon Wildlife Trust

Plymouth grass land overview

Letting grass grow longer is better for nature as it stores more carbon in the soil and doubles the species of plant and insect life making it their home which helps us combat climate change.

We know that how we manage the city’s grassland areas provokes a range of opinions, which is why we have worked hard to speak with all local Councillors to ensure that the balance between community and wildlife need is balanced.

Tell us what you think

If you want to tell us about the benefits you have seen or think that we haven’t cut the grass according to our published cycle you can do so using the links below.

We cannot change our regime during the season - this causes too much disruption to the teams completing the vast job of keeping up with the growing grass.

However we are committed to continue to listen to the public’s views and, during the season, will collate all comments about the management regime. These will be reviewed at the end of the year with local Councillors to consider updates that may be required going into the following year.