Our three year Life on the Verge - Biosphere (LoVe-B) project pilots an approach where 25 local communities can manage and monitor road verges to enhance their wildlife value.
Road 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 largely intensively managed countryside.
Managing verges to deliver all these benefits is ever-more difficult as local authority management increasingly focuses on road safety needs. The LoVe-B project will help community groups in North Devon's World Biosphere to identify and ‘adopt’ local verges, and manage them for wildlife and community benefit.
Community volunteers will be trained in biological recording and to work safely by the roadside. They will have access to funds, equipment and expertise to help them manage their chosen verges and promote their achievements. Case studies and best-practice guidance will help recruit more communities and sustain the volunteer network once the project ends.
Particular outputs include:
The majority of Devon’s verges are important for wildlife, supporting wildflowers and associated insects, birds and small mammals.
According to Plantlife verges across the UK support over 700 plant species, 45% of our native flora. This is especially important given the loss of 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows since the 1930s.