Creating wilder verges in West Berkshire

Road verge by Terry Whittaker

Andy Coulson-Phillips, Ecology Officer at BBOWT, explains how our new project will create more space for wildlife in West Berkshire

Imagine the scene – a car travelling along a rural road lined with brightly coloured wildflowers that gently sway in the tail wind as the car passes. As the noise dies away a skylark’s song is audible once again.

Road verges are already important wildlife habitats. Often, they are survivors that have escaped intensive management, either the fertilising and cultivation of adjoining farmland or direct development. 

They sometimes hold on to flowers and insects that have lost out in our managed countryside. They can also have a vital role as safe corridors and 'highways' for wildlife, such as small mammals, birds and bats, to move around and through the landscape. 

Road verge

Oxeye daisies growing along a road. Photo by Mark Hamblin/2020VISION

BBOWT has begun a new project with West Berkshire Council to promote the road verge network in the area. The aim of this project is to understand better the wildlife already present on our road verges, and then to make suggestions for changes to frequency, or timing, or even the type of management that takes place so that we can benefit the widest range of species, whilst always maintaining safety and sight-lines. 

West Berkshire has more than 1,100km of road verges so we will need to identify those that are already important and wildlife-rich, and those that with changes to management can be made better. 

Road verge

Road verges can provide vital space, food and habitat for wildlife

A key part of this new project will be to increase awareness of the value of our verges by getting information out to communities and encouraging people to be actively involved in surveying and protecting their local verges. Watch out for more information on these opportunities, coming through the spring.

We would like the scene described at the beginning to be recognisable right across West Berkshire and this project will play a key part in that.

West berkshire council logo

This is a project in partnership with West Berkshire Council

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