Verges in Monxton

There’s recently been an article on the BBC website about roadside verges being the “last refuge for wild flowers”. (6 June 2015). Read the full article below or click the link.

Would you like to see more wild flowers on the verges in Monxton, or would you prefer them to be cut? If cut, then the grass cuttings should be removed. Or should the verges be cut once the cow parsley has finished flowering? Or should we just keep control of the nettles? We live in a Conservation Area – surely this should also be for conserving our environment? Your thoughts would be appreciated?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-33029385

More than 700 species of wild plants – almost half of the native flora of the British Isles – are found on road verges, according to a study. 

Many plants once found in meadows now only thrive beside roads, where they provide essential habitat for insects, says charity Plantlife.

But it says one in 10 of the plants is at risk of extinction, in part because councils cut verges too early.

Local authorities say shorter verges are safer for drivers and pedestrians.

Dr Trevor Dines, botanical specialist for the charity, said more than 97% of meadows had been destroyed in England since the 1930s, with road verges becoming the last stretches of natural habitat for wildlife such as bees and other insects.

Cow parsley
Road verges can be a haven for wild plants like cow parsley

“Most of our farmland is now hostile to many of our wild plants and other wildlife due to the loss of wild flower meadows and the use of herbicides and fertilisers,” he told BBC News.

“The roadside verges are often the last refuge for wild flowers and the wildlife there depends on them.

“It’s almost as if plants have been squeezed out of farmland and now they’re being squeezed out of road verges from bad management.”

The Local Government Association has said keeping road verges well-maintained means motorists have a good line of sight and allows pedestrians to walk more safely alongside busy roads.

Full flower

Bluebells
Around one in ten of these wild plants is threatened with extinction

Plantlife International says road verges are of particular importance to rare plants such as Deptford pink, tower mustard and spiked rampion.

They also act as wildlife corridors and provide pollen and nectar for bees, butterflies and moths.

The wild plant conservation charity says many of Britain’s road verges are being cut down in full flower threatening the wildflowers and the wildlife that depends on them.

It is calling on members of the public to sign a petition urging councils to do more to enhance the wildlife value of road verges.

Its management principles for road verges include:

  • Allowing plants to complete their full life cycle, ie to grow, flower and set seed
  • Removing grass cuttings
  • Allowing flowers to return over time as they spread naturally.

Dr Dines added: “If we just give them a chance, wildflowers can return.”

3 comments on “Verges in Monxton

  1. Cllr David Bateman says:

    I like to see the verges cut even though it is only a couple of feet. I would also like to see more wild flowers along the verges. Lack of hedgerow concerns me around farmers fields, I feel that farmers should be encouraged to re-plant hedgerows for the sake of our wild birds

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  2. David Hodgson says:

    I agree I would like to see wild flowers growing along the verges, that is why we like village life. David Hodgson

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  3. Adrian Drage says:

    The thought of our verges full of wild flowers is indeed seductive. I believe that, sadly and as can be clearly seen either side of the bridge over the Phil Hill Brook on Andover Road, the reality is that, if not maintained, they will be full of: docks; nettles; thistles; dandelions et al and not wild flowers. Such weeds will always outperform and displace wild flowers – unless totally removed. Just compare the verges either side of the Andover Road between Chalkpit Lane and the bridge and you will see the difference between ‘maintained’ and ‘unmaintained/wild’ verges. I know which I prefer. As I write this it is snowing dandelion seeds, so…. I would rather that the verges were cut, the grassed removed, more hedges planted with native species and properly maintained where fields abut the road – a real boost to the ecology and habitats – with others having the ivy stripped off before they too are killed and lost.

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