VERGES

The local road network runs the length and breadth of the Stour area and most roads have verges. Road verges, if managed sympathetically, can create a network wide corridor of wildflower rich grassland.

In a predominantly arable landscape, where grassland habitat has become scarce, isolated and fragmented, these corridors are essential to allow many notable wild flowers to colonise and increase there range throughout the whole area, by creating connectivity between surviving grassland habitat.

Verges have become important as habitat, because they have little interference, they have no artificial fertilizers, pesticide or herbicide added. They rarely get soil disturbance and contain a good seed bank of wildflowers, including some of our more scarce plants including orchids. Because well managed verge habitat is rich in wildflowers, it attracts and supports many other insects and animals some of which are also scarce. Again, the verges can provide corridors for these to increase their numbers and range throughout the network. To achieve this, the verges that are most biologically important must be identified and brought under proper management. This could include clearing scrub and a more involved cutting regime than the verge cuts provided by Local Authorities. It would also include the removal of any cut material from the verge. Once this has been achieved, these managed areas can be extended to create the connectivity.                  

NEW ROADS

Often, when new roads are constructed, the constructions include extensive landscaping of the verges and road cuttings by the spreading of topsoil and aesthetic plantings of trees and shrubs. This gardening of the countryside, doesn’t really take into account the local flora and fauna, or the expensive future management of the area. Adding rich topsoil, encourages lush thick vegetation which then needs regular cutting. On the other hand, if the subsoil or clay had been left to mother nature to colonize, the growth would be sparse, short, rich in wildflowers and take less costly management! A prime example of this can be seen on the Ettington road cutting below.  

HABITAT

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