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Ecology projects

5. Roadside verge nature reserves

Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes has an extensive road network, often lined by grass verges. These grass verges have the potential to form corridors for wildlife, therefore tying in with the landscape scale conservation measures that are thought to be needed in order for wildlife to adapt to climate change and move through what can sometimes be an inhospitable landscape.

In response to the importance of roadside verges for wildlife, in the early 1970s, a number of roadside verge nature reserves (RVNR) were established by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust. Roadside verges have been recognised in the Buckinghamshire Biodiversity Action Plan as having the potential to provide for providing food, shelter and corridors between habitats for wildlife if managed sensitively. Many of our invertebrate, bird and mammal species have been recorded to breed on roadside reserves.

Some of the designated Roadside Nature Reserves (RSNVs) have been designated due to their importance to a species (e.g. the caterpillars of the striped lychnis moth Cucullia lychnitis) or for the importance of the habitats they contain (e.g. chalk grassland). The existing RVNR networks totals 21ha in area and covers approximately 25km of road verges. These roadside verges will be surveyed again in due course in order to inform management plans.

Roadside Nature Reserves can support a wide variety of invertebrate pollinators are likely to form a key part of Buckinghamshire’s effort to contribute to the national pollinator strategy which was launched on 4 November 2014. This will then help provide benefits to the economy as approximately 80% of all flowering plant species, including crops, are pollinated by animals. RSNVs also support diverse assemblages of many rare and threatened plant species, including orchids.

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Last updated: 5 April 2017

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