Rural Road Verge Links

Whilst looking on the internet I found evidence for a lot of UK projects on management and on surveys of rural road verges. If you are interested in this happening in your local area, have a look to see if there is one ongoing that you can contribute too as they always need volunteers, or perhaps see if you can persuade your local council or wildlife trust/environmental charity to run one. [Do bear in mind that charities have virtually no money/time to do anything that they haven’t received a grant to do – same with councils frankly, as far as I can see.]

One thing that has been very clear to me from looking at all these links is the importance of surveying road verges first so what grows there is accurately recorded, and then maintaining an up-to-date and accessible GIS database of information on biodiverse road-verges; then the right management can be applied.

Here’s what I found (not an exhaustive list, merely one to give a ideas on what has worked plus some inspiration) and in no particular order: –

Plantlife show a number of initiatives on a map  with some inspiring stories and their document on how road verges can be managed

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust have carried out a very large set of road verge surveys that have resulted in the designation of 146 new Local Wildlife Sites on road verges and the maps of the results are very clear too. The main website on that project here . The County Council have been looking into harvesting verge biomass (link is to a text .pdf)  also more here on the same project

This is a great overview on the England road verge network for biodiversity with some facts and figures supported by science papers, including management and info about the above Biomass trial – all by Mark Schofield (5MB download with pics .pdf)

Kent Wildlife Trust have had a project identifying, protecting and managing their road verges since 1994

Northumberland Wildlife Trust don’t have a project running but are keen to hear from local people interested in protecting road verges

A new project in Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council area in Northern Ireland and the funders page

The University of Sheffield has a Living Highways Project

Dorset Wildlife Trust are busy doing wildlife surveys of road verges and Dorset County Council are doing management trials

Norfolk Wildlife Trust have information about roadside nature reserves in their area here

Life on the Verge – Biosphere Project is happening around Okehampton, Devon

The Essex Biodiversity Project lists special road-verges in Essex

Hampshire County Council say in their county road verges are 3% of the land area! They manage their Road Verge of Ecological Importance (RVEI) according to a set of four designated codes which says when they are cut and there is a marker post inserted on site: there is a .pdf at the bottom of this page (updated 2013) which tells you what they do and where the sites are and who to contact

The North East Nature Partnership gives this list of species from which a road verge would need five present in a 20m stretch to be classed as of conservation importance

The North York Moors National Park have 181 special road verges – a blog here about them with a cunning use of two wooden pegs to allow a single plant to set seed without getting mown. Nidderdale was also involved . North Duffield Conservation and Local History Society have an informal project going to survey their road verges

Cumbria have special verges amounting to 6% of the total – there’s a downloadable leaflet about  them here with map and details of who to contact about them  . This is a website about Orton Parish in Cumbria and Judy Dunford has written about the wildflowers there plus taken pics (I thought this was a great idea)

Oxfordshire County Council offer guidance on how to look after and designate road verge nature reserves

Wiltshire County Council have this short text .pdf from 2006 with guidelines for selection of protected road verges  – not sure if it’s still current. And more information about it here from The Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre  and also that volunteers monitor the road verges too.

Worcestershire County Council coordinate a roadside verge nature reserve project and special verges are marked with posts and an information plaque

Shropshire Council don’t have a scheme as such, but you can get in touch if you want to highlight a road verge in particular and they will manage it as per the Plantlife guidelines

In 2014 the Borough of Poole changed the way it managed some of its road verges

This page on the Wales Action Plan for Pollinators has some downloadable slides from talks from Road verge seminars in the bottom right corner (scroll down) Also from the Welsh Government is this short list of things a road verge is for  (not just biodiversity)

The North Wales Wildlife Trust has a page on their locally important road verges which they manage

Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust started a Living Highways project in 2001 which continued until 2014 and are now looking for volunteers to help survey.

Monmouthshire have produced a handy booklet for highway managers about how to manage road verges for Pollinators (.pdf download with pics)  – I would add that pollinators are not the only reason to change verge management but it is very useful info. It does stress the importance of checking with the GIS database first.

Denbighshire County Council have been running management trials and surveys of their road verges

Caithness ran a small trial on leaving some road verges longer or giving them a later cut.

Scottish Natural Heritage – big report on managing road verges for biodiversity (downloadable .pdf)

The Suffolk Roadside Nature Reserves project and also their page on general grass-cutting; from the look of their FAQ page more people complain about the grass not being cut than it being cut too often

Here’s an example of a Habitat Action Plan from 2003 (may be archived now…not sure whether the funding was continued for these Plans at a UK level – from memory I think not) West Sussex Road Verges Habitat Action Plan (it’s a .pdf download)


And finally, this is a large literature review commissioned by Natural England in 2014 about transport’s ‘soft estate’ (basically the biodiversity – I’ve had a quick look at the recommendations of the report and there’s a long list of papers cited) – you can download it from here

A quote from the abstract of the above report  “This review investigates two research questions considering: i) how transport soft estate has been used to deliver biodiversity gain, ecological connectivity, and ecosystem services; and ii) how green infrastructure has been used to make the transport network more resilient towards climate change. The results suggest that transport soft estate can deliver biodiversity gains and ecological connectivity, but this is very species and context dependent, with success depending on the management regime. Ecosystem service delivery is very promising with soft estate already delivering a variety of services and with the potential to deliver considerably more.”


I’m amazed anyone got this far…here’s a bonus photo of Saw-wort growing on a road verge 🙂

This entry was posted in The I.Pot. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Rural Road Verge Links

  1. Pingback: Where have all the flowers gone? Stripped from verges everyone. | Peddling and Scaling God and Darwin

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s