New lease of life for East Devon verges

PUBLISHED: 08:01 02 June 2019 | UPDATED: 09:20 06 June 2019

Revitalising Devon's verges. Picture DCC

Revitalising Devon's verges. Picture DCC

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Conservation scheme piloted in Axe and Lim valleys to be extended across Devon

A project to help communities revitalise their roadside verges - piloted in East Devon - has been so successful it has been launched across the county.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) 'Life on the Verge - Biosphere' (LoVe-B) project has been taken up by residents in the Axe, Yarty and Lim Valley areas.

More than 100 volunteers have learnt new skills to help them maintain and improve the condition of roadside verges.

The Axe Vale and District Conservation Society has been managing Beer Road in Seaton since 2014.

Now communities all around Devon are being encouraged to follow suit and take pride in their verges, and by doing so, help the environment.

Roadside verges are an integral part of Devon's heritage and are sanctuaries for wildflowers, pollinating insects, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals.

They provide one of the only opportunities to see wildflowers daily, often on a commute and have been shown to have had a positive impact on mental health.

But since the 1930s some 97 per cent of the UK's wildflower meadows have been lost, and as a result pollinating insects have suffered steep declines.

Roadside verges are one of the few remaining places where native wildlife can thrive.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council's Cabinet Member for the Environment said: "Climate change, road side verges and the health of our pollinators and natural environment are inextricably linked.

"Climate change has impacted the natural rhythms of weather and pollinators have been affected.

"Well maintained grass verges form corridors for wildlife and are part of the wider landscape conservation measures needed to help protect the environment."

Community groups who want to be part of the initiative are being invited to attend the Devon Community Action for Wildlife Conference is on Saturday July 6 in Chagford where they can learn how they can help.

For more information and to book a place people should visit the organisation's website at www.naturaldevon.org.uk.

In the meantime people wishing to maintain a verge in their community can download free step-by-step guidance document, which includes information on mandatory health and safety training, by visiting:

https://www.devon.gov.uk/environment/wildlife/managing-verges-for-wildlife

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