You may have noticed that some verges and areas of open space are being left to grow. Some verges are maintained by MHDC and some by Malvern Hills AONB.
Visit the Malvern Hills AONB website
This year (2022) sees Malvern Hills District Council carrying out a trial where, verges will be left to grow so that we can assess what species are present and how we can improve the biodiversity.
How will we do this?
The maintenance regime will be like a traditional hay cut, with a cut between July and September. The cut grass will be collected. The benefit of this is that the nutrients going into the soil will be reduced and a reduction in the thatch of dead grass to allow for areas where wildflower seeds can germinate.
Why are we doing this?
Leaving the verges to grow for longer means flowers are available to pollinators and as the flower heads mature it allows them to set seed for next year’s growth.
Verges rich in native wildflowers support more wildlife, are more resilient to environmental change, enhance ecological connectivity between sites and provide better ecosystems for pollinators.
Wildflower species tend to grow better in nutrient poor soil. By taking away the cuttings, the aim is to reduce the fertility of the soil to give less vigorous species such as Oxeye Daisy, birds foot trefoil, orchids, and cowslip a chance against the grasses and cow parsley. As the verges are left to develop, we will be monitoring the species of plants that take over.
Cutting the verges less will also help achieve our goal to reduce CO2 output and reduce our impact on climate change.
The verges will still be cut back regularly at road junctions and a 1 metre strip along the roadside to make sure that the sight lines are clear.
More information and further reading
Read the good verge guide on the Plantlife website
Read a highways verges management pilot project in the Malvern Hills