Life on the Verge 'Biosphere'
Verges are an important wildlife resource and an integral part of Devon's heritage. They provide a range of habitats and are increasingly important wildlife corridors for threatened species and pollinators. They also provide one of the only opportunities for us to see wildflowers on a daily basis, in towns and villages, as well as in a intensively managed countryside.
This project aims to work with communities to identify, adopt and manage roadside verges for the benefit of both wildlife and people. For more background about the Life on the Verge - Biosphere project and it's goals please click here.
For advice and help with verges within the North Devon Biosphere Reserve contact the Project Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07855 660319 or follow the project on Facebook.
Get involved with the Life on the Verge -Biosphere project and help to protect and conserve these fascinating and vital pockets of wildlife. The first stage is for volunteers to survey verges across the Biosphere to find out which plant species are on a particular verge. Once we know this, we can work out the best management techniques to help them into peak condition!
The Project Coordinator can offer advice about managing verges to improve them for wildflowers. With the help of volunteers and a community approach, verges that aren't currently as diverse as they could be or are at risk of deterioration can be enhanced by simple management techniques. This will often involve annual cutting and removal of clippings after the growing season, but might also involved techniques such as oversowing with local seed. (for more information download the guidance notes above or click here for Plantife's Good Verge Guide). Whether it's species rich verge or simply a strip of rye grass, if there's a local verge you would like to see enhanced for wildlife, please do get in contact.
Our verge survey is designed to be as simple as possible so that even those with little knowledge of botany can get involved. There's scope within the survey to show off your skills as they develop and for those with more advanced knowledge of our native plants already. Find all the survey documents you'll need to get you started. Our main priority is to ensure your safety, so please do ensure you read our guidance carefully before heading off to survey a verge (see Highways Safety section below). Sing up to our mailing list or follow us on Facebook to hear of future training session available through the project.
There are 16 verges in the Biosphere Reserve that have previously been identified as 'special verges' which are being re-surveying as part of the project. If you'd like to help with a botanical survey on these verges do get in touch.
In order to ensure that all volunteers are as safe as possible while working beside the highway, Devon County Council has recently released a free eLearning module on Highways Safety Training. You first need to register your name and email address with email@example.com once they reply to you, login to the eLearning site at www.devon.learningpool.com and search for the course ‘ Highways Safety Awareness' as 'Self Enrolment'. We would urge all volunteers to complete this training, rest assured it doesn't take long to complete and it will help to keep you and those around you as safe as possible on our roads.
Project Co-ordinator appointed
The Tarka Country Trust has appointed local conservationist, Jo Pullin as their Life on the Verge - Biosphere Project Coordinator to work with communities on road verge management.
Jo Pullin says, “there are some wonderfully rich and diverse road verges in this area and it is great to have this chance to help communities look after them for wildlife and for the benefit of local people and visitors. Life on the Verge - Biosphere has been supported by a £49,300 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Thanks to National Lottery players, we have been able to help communities to manage roadside verges for wildlife”.