Verges for Nature
Contact: Rolly Bea
5 The Terrace, Norton, Presteigne, Powys
PRESTEIGNE and NORTON LD8 2EL and LD8 2AT
Verges for Nature
In PRESTEIGNE and NORTON - keeping the 'Wild in Wildflower'
We can make road verges, parks & other green spaces more wildlife friendly. Having lost 97% of Wildflower Meadows in the UK, there is a growing awareness of the importance of roadside verges in increasing biodiversity.
Over 700 species of wildflowers grow on these verges around the country, providing a valuable source of pollen & nectar. Flowers & longer grasses are a vital refuge & food source for bees & butterflies, bugs & slow worms, bats & small mammals.
Verges provide a network of green corridors, linking hedgerows, woods & trees. Wildlife can move more freely & safely, finding food, shelter & hibernation sites.
Summer: Orchids had appeared on a bank alongside the bypass after cutting regimes were changed from 4x to 3x a year!
This focused discussions between residents & local councillors on the importance of wildflowers & biodiversity. As Powys County Council owns & is responsible for urban & rural verges, links were made to see if only one late cut could be made on the verges with the most potential.
Spring: Verges monitored for different species,handpainted signs are used as indicators & to raise local interest.
A leaflet was made available to schools & public for ID of the 20 most prolific flowers. Volunteers raked up & removed all the mown grass (arisings) after the late cut on these particular verges. These arisings if left mulch the ground, providing nutrition, making the grass grow more strongly, suppressing flower growth. NB wildflowers like poor soil to grow best in !
The local council agreed to include Norton in the scheme. Some banks & verges were showing a good variety, but cut too early to thrive. Overall more species were surviving & the county recorder for East Radnorshire began to visit & document her findings. Yellow rattle seed was sown on some verges.
This plant reduces the vigour of the tougher grasses, allowing more light in for flowers to grow.
Yellow rattle plugs were planted out on verges with the most potential. Some seed sown had taken the previous year but plants give a head start & extra coverage. Orchids appeared in other places, as well more other species. During the removal of the arisings frogs & slow worms were found to be using these areas.
PCC Highways being responsible for mowing & keeping roads safe for visibility, liaise with the local & county councillors, and Verges for Nature volunteers about how to manage the urban verge sites best for nature.
Powys also has many rural verges for wildlife: Roadside Rural Nature Reserves. These too have a different mowing regime where wildflowers have been left to grow.
Welsh Government Action
A new campaign this 2022: ITS FOR THEM 'Changing Mowing to Save Wildlife'.
- We are in a Nature Emergency' 1 in 6 species assessed in Wales are at risk of extiction
- We are making changes to the mowing regimes; it's about saving wildlife not about reducing costs.
- We need to act now to save them'
The scheme recognises the benefit to plants, invertebrates, small mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds, humans & the planet!
There are other benefits of less cutting; improved capacity of the soil to absorb water, reduced run off from slopes & greater absorption of traffic pollutants & feel good factor/wellbeing for people.
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Page last modified: 30 Nov 2022, 23:20