Project Officer, Mark Schofield said: "With the help of volunteers we are aiming to survey 2,200km of roads in south-west Lincolnshire, Rutland and east Leicestershire, and identify those which are the most valuable for flowers and other wildlife. The early flowering plants such as cowslips and violets are now over but there are still lots of distinctive flowers to look for. And you don’t need to be an expert botanist.
"Flowers such as field scabious, greater knapweed, clustered bellflower, restharrow and ladies bedstraw are all in flower now and they are easy to identify. Their presence on a roadside verge indicates that the verge is of nature conservation value. But time is running out, the survey season will finish over the next few weeks."
To take part in the “Life on the Verge” roadside surveys, you don’t need previous experience. You can find out everything you need to know by visiting lifeontheverge.org.uk On the website, you can see all the roadside verges in the project area and claim the section you would like to survey. You can also download all the documents you will need to get surveying including survey guidelines, a survey form, and the wildflower identification guide.
The area of south-west Lincolnshire, Rutland and east Leicestershire was identified in the 1940s as a prime area for conservation but since then the grasslands and their important species have become increasingly scarce. Road verges represent a vital opportunity to link the few remaining patches of limestone grassland across the landscape. A well cared for network of verges will act as green corridors that help plants and animals move as they need to in the face of climate change and disturbance. Once the verges that still retain lots of wild flowers are identified, they can be managed more appropriately.
“Life on the Verge” is a Living Landscape scheme managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust on behalf of project partners the Leicestershire & Rutland Wildlife Trust, Natural England and Lincolnshire County Council. The project has received £115k from Natural England’s Countdown 2010 Biodiversity Action Fund, £89k from the SITA Trust and a further £5k from Ringway Infrastructure Services.