Life on the Verge in Devon

Our roadside verges are sanctuaries for wildflowers, pollinating insects, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals. They also provide essential green corridors for which these species disperse. Furthermore, for many people wildflowers on our roadside verges provide an essential personal wellbeing and contribute greatly to their feeling of wellbeing.

Since the 1930’s, 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have been lost or modified. This loss of habitat has meant our pollinating insects have suffered steep declines and 87 species of wildflower are threatened with extinction.

Appropriate management of our roadside verges is essential. Without careful management, wildflowers on our road verges can be lost through too frequent cutting, or outcompeted by brambles, scrub and vigorous coarse grasses.

Flowering roadside hedgebank in Westleigh, North Devon
Flowering roadside hedgebank in Westleigh, North Devon

Get Involved

Devon County Council is encouraging communities to manage verges for wildlife (where safe to do so and not in conflict with health and safety management of verges), by downloading our free step-by-step guidance document from the bottom of this webpage.

The ‘Life on the Verge in Devon’ document provides practical guidance on what steps are required to manage a road verge for wildlife.

If you are already managing a road verge, then we are always looking for verge management case studies and community champions – so please get in touch if you can help.

Special Verges

A number of important verges within the county have been designated by Devon County Council as Special Verges, due to their exceptional wildlife value or their value to communities. Currently, there are 112 Special Verges located right throughout Devon, each one with its own specific survey and management card.

The location of all of Devon’s special verges can be found at Devon County Council’s environmental viewer, under the Ecology/Geology tab. Please email nature@devon.gov.uk if you would like to help manage a special verge or obtain more information (a survey card and management information is available for each).

Document Downloads

Life on the Verge in Devon Guidance Document

Road Verge Survey and Safety Guidance

Risk Assessment Form

Life on the Verge in Devon Promotional Poster

Common Invasives Document

See if a local botany expert can help!

Picture Gallery

Road Verge Case studies and Useful Links

Beer Road, Seaton – Management Plan. Produced by the Axe Vale and District Conservation Society, 2015.

Tarka County Trust’s  ‘Life on the Verge’ HLF project within the North Devon Biosphere, began in November 2016 and has helped local communities to manage verges for wildlife. This project is organised by project co-ordinator Jo Pullin, whose contact details are available via the link above.

Plantlife verge guidance: The conservation organisation Plantlife has produced a guide to verge management which sets out management principles for road verges.