Our three and a half year Life on the Verge - Biosphere project (2016 to 2020) piloted an approach where local communities across North Devon's World Biosphere identified, adopted and managed local verges to enhance their value for both wildlife and people. Project results are shown in the map below:
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.
Community volunteers involved in this porject were able to access training in biological recording, how to work safely by the roadside, practical management skills (including the use of scythes) and how to sucessfully grow yellow rattle and wildflower seeds. Each group had access to tools as well as support and expertise from the project Coordinator to help them manage their chosen verges and promote their achievements. Best-practice guidance, survey information and guidance and road signage have all been produced as part of this project.
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.