Howmore road widening project, S Uist
LocationCounty: South Uist
Nearest town or settlement: Howmore
A single track road used to meander past the crofting township of Howmore in South Uist (an island in the Outer Hebrides or Western Isles), but in 1994 the road was widened for one mile to take two way traffic. The contractor was RJ McLeod Ltd. When the new stretch of road was completed a broad verge was made along either side.The local Natural History Society asked Western Isles Council and RJ McLeod’s engineers if they would be willing to sow wildflower seeds provided by the Society on the new verges instead of grass. This was agreed to.
During August, September and early October wildflower seeds and seed heads were collected from uncultivated areas of Howmore ‘machair’. The seeds and seed heads were not processed in any way and they were simply handed over to the contractor as they were collected. The verges were raked, the seeds and seed heads were scattered on the ground and then raked in.
It took a couple of years for the flowers to become established, but now we have stunning verges which are a riot of colour from June to October, with a succession of different species from kidney vetch to black knapweed. But best of all, orchids have recently started growing amongst the other flowers, even though these seeds were not collected.