Rewilding concerns and considerations

We know people may have concerns about the effects of rewilding on their community, so here’s some information about ticks and rats that we hope will put your mind at rest.

There is also some information about our design guidelines and management considerations.


We have carefully chosen areas for tall grass, and they will have areas of mown grass available around them, so they can still be enjoyed without walking through the tall grass.

Ticks need to have a host animal, with the most common being deer. As most of our urban sites do not have deer or farm animals, the number of ticks should be low.

It is still important to be tick aware and to follow the general advice when you have been in tall grass areas.


More tall grass will not increase the number of rats in an area. Rats will colonise areas where there is dry shelter and a food source. Tall grass or trees do not provide the right type of shelter or food.

Grass fires – extreme heat/prolonged periods of hot weather

All vegetation presents a risk during periods of prolonged hot weather or extreme heat. However, some types of vegetation present more risks than others. 

These tend to be:

  • gorse
  • peat
  • heathland

North Somerset has very little of this type of vegetation.

Tall grass however, presents in general a lower risk than these other types of vegetation. Tall grass holds more moisture in its root bed whereas short grass can increase the risk of ground spread.

Tall grass can be located all across North Somerset and was present in most locations, such as verges, park boundaries and nature reserves, before the rewilding project was introduced with little to no issues.

By holding more moisture tall grass also provides important habitat for animals during periods of extreme heat and prolonged periods of hot weather. It also provides shade during these difficult times.

The aim of the rewilding project is to increase biodiversity by providing much needed habitat to a range of species. With our weather predicted to be hotter and dryer more often it is important that we retain these areas for wildlife to provide food, shelter and in this example shade and moisture.

Most fires are started as a result of anti social human behaviours: BBQS/Fires, littering, or deliberately started.  

We have recently introduced Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) across a number of open spaces which prohibit fires and BBQs.  In times on extreme weather we will also increase our communications around not having BBQs/Fires on open spaces in conjunction with the fire brigade. 

Human behaviours, often anti social, should not prevent vegetation from being left to grow tall.

Management considerations

A one-metre strip of grass will be maintained next to all our roads and visibility points will always be maintained.

We’ll make sure pathways are cut through large areas of tall grass to maintain access for recreation. We’ll also maintain pathways between areas where trees have been planted to allow both access and the creation of glades.

We’ll also consider practical issues around machinery access and the quantities of cuttings that will be produced.

Design guidelines

Some of the sites that have been considered are used for events and recreation so will continue to be managed as they are now with regular grass cutting.

Large amenity grass sites will be managed to provide both biodiversity and recreation.

Margins and pockets of tall grass will be created between mown areas and scrub, hedges, and trees. This will create micro-climates and wildlife-safe zones across our amenity grass areas.

Wide verges that have little amenity or biodiversity value will be allowed to grow into tall grass.

Minimal changes will be made to formal parks where the grass is currently kept short.

We have considered all existing park furniture and memorial benches to make sure we maintain access and views.

We have only planted small trees on the south side of properties to minimise the amount of shade produced.

We have considered any conflict with utilities, direction of prevailing wind and ground preparations.

Where possible we considered planting trees to make links with other sites with trees. This can enhance their biodiversity benefits.