On 4 July a group led by Jo Pullin of Tarka Country Trust, accompanied by Dr Phil Sterling from Butterfly Conservation.Org and Mary Breeds, local botanist from the Braunton Countryside Centre, inspected the verge created by the Braunton group of Life on the Verge. The site is beside the old railway line heading towards Ilfracombe, just before reaching the Fire Station.
Mary Identified some of the good species that are now present: hay rattle, wild carrot, yarrow, salad burnet, poppy & corn chamomile.
Back at the Centre, Phil presented some of the results and rationale for introducing wildflower verges in Highways England major projects. Just one example – “since the A354 Weymouth Relief Road opened in 2011, 30 species of butterfly have been recorded on the chalk grassland slopes created next to the road”. http://butterfly-conservation.org/our-work/conservation-projects/building-sites-for-butterflies. He also noted that Highways England have embraced wildflower verges to the extent that the important A303 widening will be accompanied by the creation of an extensive chalk grassland area – certainly something to look forward to!
Jo is the co-ordinator for the wildflower verge projects in the North Devon Biosphere. If you’re interested in creating a wildflower space where you live, either in your garden or public roadside, take a look at http://www.tarkacountrytrust.org.uk/love-b