Green Plan Update : Discovering the secrets of road verges.
Many thanks to Roselle Chapman, the inspiring Community Ecologist at Wild Oxfordshire, for a fascinating road verge safari along the verge running from the Ridgeway below Britwell Hill towards Britwell Salome. This is a beautiful example of how incredibly biodiverse remnants of ancient species rich grassland can be found on road verges, all too often unappreciated by passers-by.
About 20 people met on a warm evening in late July, to learn about the value of road verges for wildflowers, grasses and pollinators, and why we need to look after them, especially in intensively farmed landscapes. Some plants had already set seed, but among the flowers we found knapweed, hedge bedstraw, field scabious and the unusual tall brown flower spikes of knapweed broomrape, a plant without chlorophyll which parasitises knapweed.
Roselle and others explained why we need to do more to look after species rich road verges by using less intensive management methods. This road verge nature reserve is only cut late in the summer once the plants have flowered and set seed. As part of the Green Plan, we hope to see more verges in our parish managed for wildlife.
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