Saturday, 11 May 2019

Life on the Verge in Devon > help manage roadside verges for their wildlife and wildflowers

The campaign to encourage wild flowers on our roadside verges has been going on for some time:
Futures Forum: Devonshire hedgerows and verges - and national guidance on cutting (2013)
Futures Forum: Devonshire verges >>> extending wildflower projects across the county (2015)
Futures Forum: "Roadside verges are helping some of the rarest wildflowers in the UK survive, but are under siege, thanks to a combination of mismanagement and pollution" (2017)

And at last, it is bearing fruit: 

Life on the Verge in Devon

Our roadside verges are sanctuaries for wildflowers, pollinating insects, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals. They also provide essential green corridors for which these species disperse. Furthermore, for many people wildflowers on our roadside verges provide an essential personal wellbeing and contribute greatly to their feeling of wellbeing.

Since the 1930’s, 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have been lost or modified. This loss of habitat has meant our pollinating insects have suffered steep declines and 87 species of wildflower are threatened with extinction.

Appropriate management of our roadside verges is essential. Without careful management, wildflowers on our road verges can be lost through too frequent cutting, or outcompeted by brambles, scrub and vigorous coarse grasses.

Get Involved

Devon County Council is encouraging communities to manage verges for wildlife (where safe to do so and not in conflict with health and safety management of verges), by downloading our free step-by-step guidance document from the bottom of this webpage.

The ‘Life on the Verge in Devon’ document provides practical guidance on what steps are required to manage a road verge for wildlife.

If you are already managing a road verge, then we are always looking for verge management case studies and community champions – so please get in touch if you can help.

Special Verges

A number of important verges within the county have been designated by Devon County Council as Special Verges, due to their exceptional wildlife value or their value to communities. Currently, there are 112 Special Verges located right throughout Devon, each one with its own specific survey and management card.

The location of all of Devon’s special verges can be found at Devon County Council’s environmental viewer, under the Ecology/Geology tab. Please email nature@devon.gov.uk if you would like to help manage a special verge or obtain more information (a survey card and management information is available for each).

Document Downloads

Life on the Verge in Devon Guidance Document

Road Verge Survey and Safety Guidance

Risk Assessment Form

Life on the Verge in Devon Promotional Poster

Common Invasives Document

Life on the Verge in Devon | Environment

Thanks largely to Independent Cllr Claire Wright: 

Devon County Council launches wildflower verge policy and calls for champions

Friday, 10 May 2019 0 Comments by Claire

Devon County Council’s environment team has launched its long-awaited wildflower verge policy, following my work with three pilot verges in my ward of Otter Valley.

I started the pilot in late 2013 working with highways officers and Devon Wildlife Trust, to boost the numbers of insects after it became clear that populations were falling away dramatically.

It was also to offset the recent decision to not cut highways verges (except on junctions and bends) due to government budget cuts.

It has been a legal challenge to put together this guidance, due to highways and health and safety regulations but I’m delighted that the information went live on Devon County Council’s website a few days ago…..

From a practical point of view, it will be necessary to check with officers on the suitability of the road verge for wildflowers, and also to get the mix right.

Additionally, people need to do a short online health and safety training exercise.

It’s wonderful news and I know that many town and parish councils will want to get stuck into wildflowering their communities and so attracting the abundance of insects back to Devon that we’re so desperately lacking and we so desperately need.

Officers are also, as part of the project, calling for champions to help support the work of rewildflowering Devon. See the link below for more details!

Happy wildflowering!


Devon County Council launches wildflower verge policy and calls for champions - Claire Wright.

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