Podcast uploaded: Plantlife | Road Verges Campaign

I only recorded this conversation at Plantlife HQ in Salisbury yesterday – and I have a rather daunting backlog of edits to be getting on with – but during my conversation with the excellent Dr Trevor Dines on the importance to biodiversity of road verges we also referenced another Plantlife campaign, NoMowMay, a campaign focussing on our gardens that is running over this Bank Holiday weekend, so I thought I’d best get on with it.

From the spoken intro to the podcast:

“…verges are actually fascinating habitats…because they are these fragments of the surrounding countryside that are preserved along ancient routes…”

Most of us are aware now that biodiversity is in decline. Plant biodiversity here in the UK has especially suffered: wild flowers have been lost from huge areas of Britain, and so have the pollinators and other invertebrates that depend on them. Conservationists are having to look to protect what’s left of our wildlife in areas that may not be optimal, but that nevertheless hold a surprisingly important range of flora and fauna. Along with our gardens, one of those areas is our rural road verges, those largely county council-owned strips of land next to our roads which, according to the UK charity Plantlife, make up a network that is equal to half of the country’s remaining flower-rich grasslands and meadows.

I spoke with Dr Trevor Dines, Plantlife’s exuberant Botanical Specialist, about the charity’s excellent Road Verges Campaign, which has been running for a couple of years now and is having positive and hugely encouraging results.

Road verges may have the potential to literally re-seed our denuded countryside and looking after them sounds like such a simple solution to plant biodiversity loss, but do we actually have the data to quantify just how important our road verges really are?

The podcast is on Lush Player at Plantlife | Road Verges Campaign

Interviewing Plantlife tomorrow

After a number of false starts I’m heading down to Salisbury tomorrow to have a chat for a podcast about roadside verges with Plantlife‘s Dr Trevor Dines (Trevor the Botanist on twitter).

If like me, you’re sick of watching councils mow down countless numbers of wild flowers alongside miles and miles of roads (especially in spring, depriving early pollinators of food, and early summer when huge numbers of small mammals and invertebrates lose safe homes) then this will be of enormous interest.

Plus, I’m really interested by the suggestion (made by many different sources) that roadside verges act as wild flower ‘reservoirs’ – if verges really do function in that way, what more powerful indictment of how utterly screwed our wider countryside must be if strips of land alongside our heavily polluted roads are actually more botanically rich than the fields they pass through…