Fetcham Blue Hearts Wildflower Verges

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Don't mow, let it grow!

See the bottom of the page for the guidance notes and how to obtain or make a blue heart sign.

5th August 2021. We are delighted that Surry County Council are now fully supporting the Blue Campaign, there is further information on their website including how you can request that your grass verge is left unmown, we suggest also contacting us so that we can also keep a record of sites.

https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/roadworks-and-maintenance/trees-grass-and-hedges/grass/the-blue-campaign-increasing-biodiversity-in-grass-verges

5th July 2021. UPDATE NEWS!! We are delighted with the take up of the scheme, Blue Heart signs are popping up all across the village, from small grass verges, front gardens, and our biggest site at the Fetcham side of the roundabout at Bocketts Farm. In the spring there was a large number of cowslips which would have been mown off in other years, this was followed in June with a swathe of long grasses and wildflowers including 50 bee orchids and 10 pyramidal orchids! Other plants included creeping restharrow, common knap weed, common yarrow, field bindweed, mallow, moon daisies and one poppy! It's lovely to know that the work of hooping off the area, which keeps both footfall and mowers out, and installing the blue heart signs are working to restore wild flower areas.

APRIL 2021. Restoring native wild flowers and encouraging biodiversity along some grass verges in Surrey is part of Surrey County Council’s climate change initiatives. The Fetcham Residents’ Association is working with SCC to make this happen sympathetically in our area. Bookham started this initiative in 2020 and with their help and support Fetcham Blue Hearts is delighted to spread the campaign to the Fetcham area in spring 2021.

Whilst a lot of our residential verges will still be mowed, the aim is to allow wild flowers to bloom and set seed on as many verges as possible to encourage a diversity of butterflies and insect pollinators. A swathe along the road edge and alongside footpaths will be mowed regularly to maintain sight lines and safety whilst in the wild flower areas one full width cut in the autumn will prevent woody shrub growth and neaten the area.

These wild flower areas will be marked with Blue Hearts. The Blue Heart scheme followed the State of Nature Report 2014 which highlighted the dramatic decline in biodiversity across the UK. Wildflowers have declined drastically over the last fifty years due to a variety of reasons - loss of meadows, changes in farming practices, development, road verge mowing and too ‘tidy’ gardens. This loss has created a domino effect – fewer native flowering plants means less nectar for, bees, butterflies and pollinating insects which many of our native birds, bats and small mammals rely on for their food, indeed some plants have become so rare that they only exist in small pockets on road verges. Insects pollinate the majority of the food we eat, bees, butterflies, insects and caterpillars very often have specific plants they feed on, what we think of as ‘weeds’ have leaves and flowers which are their food source, when the wild plants decline insect numbers also decline, the aim is to reverse this trend.

We already have some lovely wild flowers in some of our verges, from primroses and buttercups to cowslips, cow parsley, orchids and many more. As well as road verges and parks, there are numerous small ‘green’ areas across Fetcham which could be managed as meadows or could have areas left unmown. Wildflower road verges can become vital and beautiful landscape corridors, swathes of colour in spring and summer, connecting green spaces through the village and the wider countryside.

Some residents are already leaving some parts of their lawn to grow long and have small ‘meadow-lets’ with wildflowers in their gardens. SCC isn’t responsible for all verges and many residents are already reducing the frequency of mowing on the verges outside their houses and planting with spring bulbs and letting them grow throughout the summer, all that’s needed is a blue heart sign to tell everyone. I think we have all appreciated the beauty of our roadsides and countryside during this lockdown spring.

The Blue Heart symbol will communicate to neighbours and passers-by that rewilding is in progress (and that it is not just the owner or council being lazy). The hearts will be made locally and decorated by hand. Please contact us if your would like to purchase a blue heart sign.

We would love all residents to get on board with us - our aim is to make Fetcham a fabulous blooming ‘wild’ village to live in for humans and wildlife.  We have lots of advice, please do contact us to find out how you can help and to discuss your road verges, and to buy a blue heart sign direct from us, please email fetchambluehearts@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you and look out for blue hearts!

Scroll down this page for some of that advice about how to: Make-Your-Own Blue Hearts, find an Existing Maker of Blue Hearts , and Where (and where not) to Place your Blue Hearts. There is also our gallery of Fetcham Blue Hearts pictures.

Best wishes, the Fetcham Blue Hearts team.

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7 comments

  1. What a great initiative! So glad that Bookham Blue Hearts has now influenced both Fetcham and Effingham to join in.

    1. Thanks Diane and Steve, your trailblazing in put last year has been immensely helpful, couldn’t have done it without! I’m hoping it will spread like invasive weeds to Leatherhead and beyond!

  2. What a wonderful project! I lived in Fetcham until the age of 19 and I’m in my 60’s now.
    I used to love walking over Monks Green as a child when it was a Hilly Meadow with literally thousands of wild flowers and butterflies the species’ of which I wrote down and remembered, most to this day. Access lately has been severely restricted and the meadows are no longer there but in the main it is still wild.
    The children of today miss out on so much. I feel privileged to have been there amongst Monks Green and the like.

    1. Hi Kevin,
      Thank you for your lovely comments. If you still have your species list or can remember enough I would be delighted to have them, I am looking into the ecological history of Fetcham to highlight what we used to have, and still have.

      We are publishing a Fetcham Tree Trail soon, it is mainly the street trees at the moment but we are also looking at the history of the trees in the village to add to the local knowledge so if you have any memories or photos showing trees I would love to see them.

      You can email me on fetchamtreetrail@gmail.com

      Best wishes
      Caroline (Cardew-Smith)

  3. My young family & I have just moved to Fetcham. We went out exploring this weekend & came across the blue hearts & wild flowers. What a wonderful initiative- already so happy to have moved here but this is the cherry on the top!

    1. Hi Suzanne, welcome to Fetcham! I am so glad you are enjoying the scheme, and thank you for taking the time to comment, if you have anywhere you want a heart for let me know, best wishes,Caroline

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