Warwick landowner urges authorities to get killer wildflower under control

The spread of a deadly wildflower – officially classed as a noxious weed – has continued to frustrate a landowner near Warwick after years of battling for authorities to get the plant under control.

Robin Smith-Ryland, owner of Sherbourne Park with ragwort.
Robin Smith-Ryland, owner of Sherbourne Park with ragwort.

Robin Smith-Ryland, who runs the Sherbourne Park Estate, has been battling with local councils and Highway England over a number of years to try and prevent ragwort getting into his animal’s food supply – which could kill them.

The Ragwort Control Act 2003 imposes a duty of responsibility on landowners to effectively control its growth to prevent it spreading onto grazing

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Robin Smith-Ryland, owner of Sherbourne Park with ragwort.

He said: “We have farmland both sides of the A46 and we have around 100 cattle and around 30 horses. Ragwort kills the animals. They are all threatened by ragwort getting into their food supply.

“For the last ten to 12 years we have requested the councils and Highways England to control the ragwort on their land.

“It is still appearing but they still don’t get rid of it. There is 300 to 400 metres long of ragwort.

“It is unbelievable. We have also dug some out in Sherbourne churchyard as seeds have just blown into there.

“It’s just negligence. It is a legal requirement to control it because it threatens livestock.”

“I think the district and the county council have got better around Sherbourne Park but it is the plant growth around the A46 and M40 which needs addressing.”

A spokesperson from Highways England said: “We’re looking into this matter and will take any necessary steps to remedy the issue where we can.”