Local people have reported the vandalism of a newly established wildflower meadow on Upper Gilwern Common, after an unnamed individual claimed that he was working under the instruction of the council.

On Friday, July 28 a farm tractor, using a grass topper, was seen by local residents mowing down the wildflower meadow; one of many sites in Monmouthshire given over to wildlife as part of Monmouthshire County Council’s Nature Isn’t Neat Scheme.

As the residents grew increasing more sure that this was not the work of the council, the driver was challenged and replied that he had been instructed to cut the meadow.

Martin Hayward was then joined by naturalist Andrew Baker as they attempted to speak to the driver again.

When told that this action was illegal the driver simply continued mowing and later made a ‘rapid exit’ without completing the task.

This little meadow is owned by the Beaufort Estate and managed by Monmouthshire County Council. It has been identified as a site of local conservation importance.

Since, it has become a jewel of the community, enjoyed by all residents, an example being Year 4 children from Gilwern Primary School who had enjoyed investigating the wildlife there severak weeks ago. The school also further expressed that they were looking forward to using the site in the future as part of their Natural History programme.

Upon seeing the destruction of the meadow, a passer-by commented that she regularly walks past this spot and has often witnessed children enjoying running through the meadow on the paths cut by the Council meandering through the long grass.

Currently, like any other site of wanton vandalism, it has been left looking a mess.

A representative from Monmouthshire County Council has confirmed that the council will now have to tidy up the mess and mow it properly as planned for the winter.

Local residents will then be able to continue to enjoy this wildlife haven and its wildlife in the Spring.

A spokesperson for Monmouthshire County Council said: “Residents and a local councillor approached us last year, enquiring if the Lower Common green could be included within the Nature Isn’t Neat initiative.

“Council officers in partnership with the resident group produced a map, of which identified meandering footpaths and sitting areas within the meadow.

“The aim of leaving areas uncut was to encourage the various wild flower species that have been identified within the sward. These included Knapweed, Field Scabious, Yarrow, Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Meadow Vetchling, Tufted Vetch, Ox-eye Daisy, Cat’s-ear and Rough Hawkbit. The initiative was a success, with children from Gilwern school also using the area for plant identification.

“Unfortunately, on the 28th July an individual deliberately cut down the uncut sward, despite requests from residents and Council officers to stop.

“We will now be collecting the cut grass in the next week or so, this after allowing the cut seed heads to disperse the seed contained within.”