Protected road verges
We have two protected road verges (PRV) in RWB. The scheme is run by Wiltshire council to protect verges with rare and endangered plants and flowers. You can read more about the scheme and how it’s managed here http://wsbrc.org.uk/wildlife-recording/survey-schemes/protected-road-verge-scheme/ Our protected road verges are along Ballard’s Ash and Binknoll Lane (aka Chaddington Lane).
Ballard’s Ash is ‘Designated for supporting a species rich grassland’. It received its protected status because of three plants in particular – Soapwort, Crown vetch, and Tall broomrape. Bee orchids have also been found on the verge along with Field scabious and Wild basil. The verge has changed a little over the years due to the construction works along the road. In fact the botany present is influenced by chalk spoil heaps left here from construction of the M4.
Adder's tongue fern
Binknoll Lane is registered as unimproved rich damp grassland and it hosts many different species of grasses, sedges and rushes. It received protected status because of the presence of Adder’s-tongue fern. There are also more common wildflowers like Ox-eye daisies, Vetches, Cinquefoil and Meadow cranesbill. These flowers are similar to those found at Morningside meadows nearby.
PRV identification – can you help us find more?
We’ve lost about 98% of our wildflower meadows making road verges one of the few places where our native plants and flowers can thrive. PRV’s are likely to be in more rural areas. They might have some sort of interesting geology e.g. chalk deposits which affects the type of plants that grow there. Potential PRV’s might have a good mix of flowers or one or two special plants. A display of orchids can be a good indication.
If you’re interested in looking for more potential road verges to protect, or think you might have spotted one already, please get in touch. We can share a checklist of plant species and guidelines from Wiltshire council. Alternatively you can contact at Wiltshire council directly.
Thanks to our local PRV monitors Alison, Richard and Judy for their work and help in providing information about the verges, and Emma Glover from WCC.