Managed rewilding - a new way to manage our grasslands

Rewilding is a form of environment conservation which is used to try and increase biodiversity. Also to create self sustainable environments, and reduce climate change by restoring the land to its natural state.

In Barnsley we're trialling a new way of how we manage some selected plots of grass. Allowing them to grow, whilst also ensuring sites remain looking neat, tidy and semi maintained.

What are the benefits of rewilding?

  • Having areas of tall grass will provide a number of benefits for insects, birds and mammals such as shelter, habitats, a place to hunt, feed and breed.
  • Reducing the time spent cutting grass will also reduce our carbon footprint.
  • Our current regime of regular mowing means these sites have the least variety of wildlife (biodiversity).  Rewilding them will make a great change to this enabling more plants and wildlife to flourish.
  • We can provide more diverse spaces where people can connect with nature, improving our health and wellbeing.

How will the grasslands be managed differently?

The seasonal management of some selected grasslands plots will change from intensive grass cutting in summer to:

  • Grass will be allowed to grow throughout the spring and summer which will create habitats for wildlife.
  • The flowers and grass will provide food and shelter for small mammals.  Including hedgehogs and bats, birds, amphibians and insects.
  • We'll still be actively managing these sites by attending every 18 days to cut the grass around the plots.  Also  cutting paths through the grass in suitable places. This will enhance the areas for people to enjoy walking, exercise and nature, which improves mental health and quality of life.
  • At the end of the season the grass will be cut and all of the clippings will be removed from site. This is to ensure that sites are left neat and tidy over the winter period.  It also to help to reduce the soil fertility (wildflowers thrive in less fertile conditions).

Where will the rewilding plots be?

We've identified 16 trial plots across our borough:

  • Bolton-upon-Dearne - Ladycroft
  • Dodworth - Intake Crescent
  • Elsecar - Hill Street
  • Hoyland - Clough Fields Road
  • Hoyland - Milton Forge
  • Lundwood - Rotherham Road
  • Penistone - Lyndhurst Bank (two areas)
  • Redbrook - Great Broadings
  • Redbrook - Wilthorpe Park
  • Shafton - Collier Road (two areas)
  • Smithies - Newhill Road
  • Thurlstone - Manchester Road (two areas)
  • Worsbrough - West Street

View all our rewilding locations and plots.

Will rewilded areas look untidy?

The plots will still be actively maintained and attended every 18 days to cut the grass around them.  As well as cutting paths through the grass in suitable places. This will enhance the areas for people to enjoy walking, exercise and nature.

How have you informed people about rewilding?

For the first initial trial, we've consulted and sent details to members. For future plots we will be consulting with the public.

We've responded to feedback and will be placing signs at locations where we're proposing to allow our grassland to grow.

Will litter still be removed?

Yes, litter will still be managed by our teams. It'll be removed before any grass cutting operations and any fly-tipping litter will be dealt with by cleansing teams.

People still need to take their litter with them or pick up after their dogs. Tall grass is not an adequate reason or excuse not to do so.

Get involved

We would like as many people as possible to get involved in our rewilding project.

You might be:

  • in a school local to the site
  • a member of a biodiversity study group
  • wanting to study the area to capture the current species and revisit in the future to see how things are changing
  • you might want to help share our rewilding aims

If you would like to be involved please email

Maintenance of our open spaces enquiry