SHDC invites volunteers to get involved with the annual green hay cut to increase biodiversity

SA Updated
SHDC invites volunteers to get involved with the annual green hay cut to increase biodiversity

Join in Parklife SW’s wildlife working days at Longmarsh and Follaton Arboretum this September to help our bees and other insects.

South Hams District Council, in partnership with Parklife SW and Devon Wildlife Trust, is inviting volunteers to help out with the annual green hay cut at Longmarsh on Friday, 3 September. A meadow maintenance working party will also meet at Follaton Arboretum on Friday, 10 September. 

The annual green hay cut at Longmarsh plays a crucial role in managing the wildflower meadows areas to increase biodiversity. By cutting the meadows now, dominant grasses can be kept under control to ensure a good mix of plant species thrive. Cutting also helps wildflower seeds to be naturally spread ready to support a diverse range of insects, birds and animals next year.

The seed-rich hay that will be cut will be put to good use. It will be given to local landowners to increase the diversity of plant species in another area of the South Hams. This is being organised by Devon Wildlife Trust, whose Avon Valley Project works with landowners to restore wildflower-rich grasslands, and create wildlife corridors across the catchment.     

Keith Rennells from Parklife SW said: “A wildlife-rich meadow actually takes some work to achieve. To get the best results, we need to manage the land carefully and that includes cutting and raking to help keep the more dominant grasses under control and ensure our wild flowers can thrive for the benefit of bees and other insects.  

"By giving the cut hay to local landowners we can also help to spread our wildflower seeds too, encouraging new bio-diverse meadows in the local area. We hope lots of local people, who are as passionate about our local wildlife as we are, will come along to help. Please do get in touch if you’d like to get involved.”

Lynne Kenderdine from Devon Wildlife Trust said: “This is the fourth time the Trust has taken green hay from Longmarsh. This year, the hay will be going on land which supported arable crops a couple of years ago.  As this is next to Andrews Wood Nature Reserve near Loddiswell, it’s set to make a big difference.

“Longmarsh green hay is particularly successful because it contains later flowering species like yarrow and tufted vetch that are in incredibly short supply in South Devon. Longmarsh is actually a bit of a gem – offering such a range of different habitats and opportunities for people to connect with nature.

“Harvesting seed helps keep Longmarsh as a special place for wildlife, and is a great place for local people to be able to get directly involved in encouraging biodiversity."

Information about Devon Wildlife Trust’s Avon Valley Project can be found at

or by contacting Lynne at 

Cllr Tom Holway, South Hams District Council Lead Member for Climate Change and Biodiversity said: “As a Council, South Hams has committed to increasing biodiversity across the District by at least 10 percent by 2025. These working parties are a practical (and good fun) opportunity for the local community to get involved and help out to do something positive for our local wildlife.” 

Volunteers will be helping with a number of tasks on the day including cutting and raking.

The dates are:

  • Longmarsh – Friday, 3 September, 10.30am to 2.30pm
  • Follaton Arboretum – Friday, 10 September, 9.30am to 1pm

Anyone interested in getting involved should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as numbers may need to be limited. 

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