Council worker mows down meadow used for Sir David Attenborough’s Big Butterfly Count

garden grass meadow green
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East Devon District Council apologised after an employee on a sit-on mower turned the valued site into a desert at The Knowle, in Sidmouth.

Red faced council bosses have apologised after a blundering worker mowed flat a wildflower meadow being monitored for David Attenborough’s Big Butterfly count.

East Devon District Council apologised after an employee on a sit-on mower turned the valued site into a desert at The Knowle, in Sidmouth.

The worker was asked with cutting a pathway from the car parks at to the gates for people to walk down to the town.

Instead he cut the whole nine acres.

The wildflower meadow blooming with all kinds of flora including orchids and bristling with butterflies, birds and insects.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) decided to mow the strip of the field nearest the road to provide a clear footpath but leave the rest growing wild.

To the dismay of Ed Dolphin the whole lot was cleared by accident.

He had been counting butterflies the previous day for a national survey and turned up the next day to find butterflies and wildflowers were all gone.

He said: “I was horrified because it wasn’t just the number but the sheer variety of butterflies there – at least eight different sorts – the day after there was just one, a good old cabbage white.

“It’s tidy but it’s more like a desert.

“Mowing it when they did and leaving the cuttings on is going to mean fewer wildflowers next time.”

An EDDC spokesperson said: “We regret that one of our operatives misunderstood the instructions he was given and cut the arena area by mistake, instead of just cutting some pathways and a flat area to help those using the park for walking through.

“We agree this shouldn’t have happened and will be taking measures to ensure that this doesn’t happen again next year.”

EDDC said it would be bringing in a machine by the end of next week to pick up the cut grass.

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