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Roadside verges

Roadside verge at Ellerburn by Nan SykesRoadside verge at Ellerburn by Nan Sykes

Roadside verges are some of the last refuges of wild flowers in Britain. Most of us pass roadside verges every day without giving them much thought. Their importance is often overlooked but they are an absolutely vital part of our natural heritage.

Verges are full of history as well as flowers. Many verges line rural roads and ways that have linked communities and countryside for generations and they provide an important connection with the past. Many verges are remnants of old grasslands and woodlands and still support some of the species that once thrived there - including those that have vanished elsewhere in the countryside. Verges provide vital havens for invertebrates, birds and small mammals.

Managed properly, verges can be important assets for the local area. A well managed verge can provide a colourful display of native wild flowers, pollen for pollinators and homes for wildlife. Verges also act as wildlife corridors, enabling animals to travel between different habitats.

Many roadside verges are no longer managed as they were in the past - cutting for hay and grazing with livestock. Getting the management right is very important. Cutting verges in full flower, not cutting them at all or making them too neat and tidy can reduce their value as wildlife havens.

The verges along main roads are often managed by the Local Authority. Verges alongside more minor roads are often cut by Parish Councils or individual land managers.

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