Verges across Wiltshire could be improved, both on a visual and ecological level, by wildflowers.

Cate Watson, from the Royal Wootton Bassett Environmental Group, has spoken on the need to make space for the flowers.

She was galvanised in 2018, after reading a report on climate change, to do something to make a difference.

She said: “Seeing the evidence, I couldn’t not act. Joining with others, the group took off. The wildflower campaign is just a beginning.

“Ninety seven per cent of our wildflower meadows have gone, so verges and lawns are one of the few spaces left for them to grow. Wildflowers are the foundation, providing food and shelter for insects, especially pollinators like bees and butterflies.

"These insects then provide food for birds, bats and small mammals. A few small changes to how we mow our lawns and verges can make a huge difference to our local wildlife.”

Initially, she tried to experiment with wildflowers at home. But years of leaving the cuttings to rot down made the soil too fertile. “Removing the cuttings is key to changing the soil conditions so wildflowers will grow,” she added.

“Then came success and incredible satisfaction as the lawn came alive. I can literally hear the buzz!”

Charity Plantlife recommends letting verges naturally seed themselves. And if you want to seed your lawn, it is advised to buy local British wildflower seeds. Yellow rattle is a good choice as it reduces grass growth.

“Beauty may not come overnight,” said Cate. “It all depends on how fertile the soil is but keep removing the cuttings and the wildflowers will creep in. After a year or so, only one cut in late summer will be enough.

“With local elections coming up, let councillors know what this means to us. Ask if they will support the inclusion of cut and collect services when the contract for mowing is renewed in 2022. Wiltshire Council run a wildflower trial, but this is limited to large, flat areas of land without any obstructions. If you want to see your verges bloom talk to your town council about applying for a section 96 licence to take over their management.”

Go to for more information about road verges in Wiltshire.

Wiltshire Climate Alliance (WCA)

WCA is a coalition of local groups and individuals who have come together to campaign for action on climate change. Set up in response to Wiltshire Council’s acknowledgement of a climate emergency, the long-term vision of WCA is for Wiltshire to achieve net zero carbon emissions and become ecologically sustainable by 2030. 

With expert knowledge and commitment from many individuals and groups, WCA is well placed to both support and challenge local government, business, civil society and other organisations to actively work towards achieving this vision. 

WCA has a thriving Youth Group and Topic Groups covering a wide range of issues including waste, transport, energy, land use and sustainable development. Members are supported in taking action and developing climate and ecology related solutions to many local problems.

If you care passionately about the challenges of climate change and the environment, please join us. We know that we are stronger together.