A Note about Road Verges from Dr Judy John of Bromley Biodiversity Partnership   

A Note about Road Verges from Dr Judy John

When Bromley’s road verges were cut in May 2020 following the first Covid-19 lockdown many residents contacted Bromley Biodiversity Partnership devastated at the loss of wildflowers. We kept a list of these verges and why people were so upset. Many missed them simply because they thought them beautiful, others were worried because it meant there was no nectar for pollinators, some felt the flowering verges provided a gateway to their area, that they linked areas of greenspace enabling species to move between them and that it was more interesting for children going to school.

Bromley Biodiversity Partnership have been promoting more wildlife friendly verge management following Plantlife Road Verge Management Guidelines (see Plantlife :: Managing Grassland Road Verges) for several years but there are worries that some people perceive uncut verges as untidy and uncared for.  However, the problems of biodiversity loss and climate change are becoming ever more acute and managing road verges for wildlife can help: native grasses and wildflowers provide food (foliage, nectar and pollen) and shelter for invertebrates, including pollinators, and can link areas of greenspace so wildflowers can spread and butterflies , bees and other pollinators can more easily move between green areas. They also store carbon in the soil beneath them.

 

Verges uncut during spring and summer, as proposed, can be highlighted for their positive impacts. For example, an initiative called the Blue Campaign (partnered with Keep Britain Tidy and Eco-Schools England) encourages installing a small blue heart on a wooden post in road verges and other grassland newly managed as meadow, see https://bluecampaignhub.com. Cutting a narrow strip along the edge of road verges can also help.

 

If you do have any verges near you that you think might be worth managing for wildlife (where safe to do so) please let us know with the reason you value the verge. Contact bromleybiodiversity@gmail.com, talk to other Residents and Residents Associations and email your local councillors to let them know.

 

Thank-you for any help you can manage,

Dr Judith John for Bromley Biodiversity Partnership                                                   23rd February 2021

 

Below are attached some examples of wildlife usually seen on verge sides.

Brimstone Male Butterfly on Red Clover Flower:

Buff Tailed Bumblebee:  

                                                  

 Skipper Butterfly:

Essex Skipper, Thymelicus lineola. Hesperidae. Grass day at Beeche, then to Down House and its Great House Meadow, led by Dr June Chatfield. 6 July 2015.

Hoverfly on Yarrow Flowers:

 

Large White Butterfly on Yarrow Flowers:

Skipper Butterfly on Knapweed: