The UK has lost 97% of its wildflower meadows since the 1930s, but we can mitigate this loss by changing the way we manage our road verges (see https://roadverges.plantlife.org.uk/). Over the next few years, I’ll be leading “species-rich grassland” trials on road verges in Barrasford and Wall. The aim being to mimic traditional hay meadow management by cutting the grass late in the summer (after the flowers have set seed) and raking up the clippings to deprive the soil of nutrients. This will promote rarer plants (including orchids and yellow rattle) which prefer nutrient-poor soil and suppress the commoner plants (brambles, nettles, cow parsley etc.) which prefer richer soils. The long-term aim is to create an attractive road verge that benefits wildlife (especially pollinating insects) while maintaining “line of sight” for motorists. The local school children have named the projects “Wild Wall” and “The Barrasford Bs” (the Bs being Bees, Butterflies, Beetles and Bugs) and created posters that I’m getting made into signs to inform passers-by. The children of Chollerton First School helped me with a “bioblitz” in July, and a botanist and an entomologist helped me with a more thorough plant and insect survey in June – we’ll repeat this annually to monitor the changes in plant and insect life. The Hadrian’s Wall 1900 team have encouraged me to register the projects with them – go to https://bit.ly/3xl7cg0 to read about the Barrasford Bs project on their website.
TGP County Councillor