Wychwood Roadside Verges

Community case studies


Road verges are hugely important for the diversity of flowering plants that they support, which range from the appealing and widespread Blue Meadow Cranesbill to the nationally rare Downy Woundwort.

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Suck, Seed and Sow

‘Suck Seed and Sow’ is a Wychwood Project initiative to bring more colour and beauty to roadside verges and community green spaces in Crawley, Chipping Norton, Chadlington, Taynton and Worsham, funded by The Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE2) Ltd, Grundon Waste Management Ltd. and Cotswolds Conservation Board Sustainable Development Fund.

Flower rich road side verges are not just beautiful, they are also a valuable habitat for birds and small mammals. Verges act as essential wildlife corridors along which species can move and spread, linking habitats and allowing wildlife to re-colonise landscapes fragmented by modern agriculture.  

Verges also act as an important refuge and food source for many beneficial key pollination insects, such as the honeybee.  The U.K. National Ecosystem Assessment estimated the production value of insect pollination (in 2007 GB£) to be at £430 million or about 8% of the total market value of crop production (Smith, 2011).

Over the years a number of road verges in the Wychwood area have been identified as having ecological interest for their range of plant species characteristic of limestone grassland, or for one or more specific plant species. These verges have been marked with Nature Reserve posts, given specific management prescriptions and are periodically surveyed. This project will seek to enhance the floral diversity of nine Road Verge Nature Reserves and green spaces.  

During the summer of 2016 Wychwood Project volunteers gathered seed both by hand and using a specially adapted vacuum from several ‘donor’ sites. ‘Receptor’ sites were prepared by scarification, leaving up to 60% of bare soil, creating the best conditions for seed germination and growth.

Wychwood Flora Group have gathered information on previous surveys of the sites and undertaken monitoring so that we can judge if our interventions result in better flora diversity in the future.

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