Wild flowers, plants and fungi are the life support for all our wildlife and their colour and character light up our landscapes. But without our help, this priceless natural heritage is in danger of being lost.
Plantlife is a British conservation charity working nationally and internationally to save threatened wildflowers, plants and fungi. We own nearly 4,500 acres of nature reserve across England, Scotland and Wales. We have 11,000 members and supporters and HRH The Prince of Wales is our Patron.
In these challenging times, wildflowers on our verges and waysides are an uplifting sight, contributing significantly to our wellbeing. It’s been wonderful to see on social media many photos of botanical gems that people have spotted whilst out for their daily exercise; there is some solace to be found in nature.
Roads have fallen quiet as lockdown is observed, as has the drone of many councils’ mowers. Councils are under considerable pressure due to the Coronavirus crisis and many have understandably reduced grass cutting down to essential management to maintain visibility and ensure road safety. There’s hope that reduced cutting frequencies might be a silver lining for verge wildflowers, giving once-familiar flowers, such as white campion, betony, greater knapweed and harebell, the chance to grow, flower and set seed.
As well allowing precious wildflowers the opportunity to thrive, reducing cutting and adopting a more wildlife-friendly management regime will also help tackle the climate crisis. Over 300 local authorities have now declared a climate emergency, so sustaining reduced cutting regimes, as recommended in our management guidelines, will also help councils bring down carbon emissions.Kate Petty, Road Verge Campaign Manager
We’ll do our best in the coming months to support councils in their efforts to improve verge management, and make sure we’re doing all we can to save and protect these under-appreciated, yet abundant, strips. Hopefully this summer our verges will be awash with wildflowers and we look forward to a time when we are able to get out and fully enjoy them again.
With thanks for your continued support and our very best wishes to you and yours.
In May 2019, we interviewed Plantlife‘s Dr Trevor Dines about the charity’s Road Verges Campaign. Trevor explained that road verges may have the potential to literally re-seed our denuded countryside and that looking after them sounds like one simple solution to plant biodiversity loss.
“…verges are actually fascinating habitats…because they are these fragments of the surrounding countryside that are preserved along ancient routes…”
Dr Trevor Dines | Plantlife Road Verges Campaign