Proposal for reduced mow and wildflowers on Saffron Walden Castle Mound

Proposal for Reduced Mow and Wildflowers on Saffron Walden Castle Mound

The land around Saffron Walden castle is, perhaps the most iconic and least exploited area of public land in Saffron Walden. The new gateway by the mini-roundabout however, has massively improved its accessibility, impact and footfall.

It has immense potential to become a civic wildflower meadow, with space and increased scope for public enjoyment as well as making a significant contribution to biodiversity in the town.

The plans I have drawn up are intended to have zero initial cost implications, indeed to offer cost savings in the first instance through a reduced mowing regime and to be entirely consistent with future plans for the development of the museum and castle mound. No hard landscaping or permanent features are involved.


wild flowers on Castle Mound

I propose:

  1. A reduced mowing regime throughout Spring, including ‘No Mow May’ and on into mid-summer.
  2. Mowing grassy paths which follow the ‘desire lines’ that the public have already worn in the grass, but with more attractive curves to improve their experience of the space.
  3. The width of these paths to be determined by the width of lawn mowers available to the council. The attached plans are not to scale, so a single pass of about 4 feet might be sufficient.
  4. Provision of circular ‘picnic areas’ on or adjacent to the paths, for families to enjoy the environment, for children to play and for people to sunbathe, read or relax, the taller grasses offering a measure of privacy.
  5. Observation of the wildflowers that emerge naturally. The cover photograph shows a stunning clump of violets, of which I have seen two, which have sadly since been mown. I suspect that a wide range of wildflowers are awaiting this opportunity.
  6. Engaging expert advice in the autumn to review the potential for active sowing of wildflowers. I believe the space has the potential to be as striking as the new wildflower meadow in Kings College Cambridge!
  7. Invitation to local scythers to mow the wildflower meadow in an historical event in August. The windrows can be gathered and baled for animal feed, symbolising sustainable use of our natural resources.

 Castle Mound Plan

Please don’t hesitate to contact me to discuss further.

Edward Gildea

31st March 2022