Road Verges and Wildflowers
Road verges, particularly in urban areas, tend not to have many wildflowers because they are cut too frequently, not allowing the flowers to grow or are cut at the wrong time, so the flowers can’t set seed. In most cases the cuttings are not removed, blocking the sunlight and making the soil too fertile for flowers, which thrive in poor soil. However road verges can provide vital corridors for nature, particularly pollinators and are crucial in helping improve biodiversity in our region.
This year, West Sussex County Council launched a new initiative called the Community Road Verge scheme (CRV) where members of local communities can adopt local verges and manage them to encourage wildflowers to grow.
Hurst Rethink are working in partnership with Hurstpierpoint and Sayers Common Parish Council and WSCC to bring the CRV scheme to our area.
How Does The CRV scheme work?
If a verge is designated as a CRV, this means the council will reduce the mowing regime to one or two times a year and residents organise for grass cuttings to be collected once the verge is mown. We designated six verges across Hurstpierpoint to take part in a pilot scheme in 2021. The research this year will help us understand how best to support West Sussex County Council with this project going forward. Look out for these signs indicating the verges in the pilot scheme:
CRV Pilot Verges for 2021
The verges taking part in the Community Road Verge scheme in Hurstpierpoint this year are Iden Hurst junction with Cuckfield Road (as seen in the photo below); Cuckfield Road junction with Willow Way; Trinity Road next to the car park; the corner verge outside 36 Highfield Drive and two verges in College Lane. All verges can be seen in the images below.
Adopt Your Local Verge for 2022
Does your local verge contain wildflowers? Or would you and your neighbours like to see your verges become more nature-friendly in 2022?
We are asking groups within the community to contact us or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a shared verge that they would like to nominate to be included in the scheme.
Verges taking part in the project will generally be left to grow until late August. Occasionally a mid-season mow will be recommended due to the conditions and types of plants and flowers growing on the verge.
Groups who have adopted verges as part of the scheme will be responsible for removing any grass cuttings after the verge has been mown. We recommend at least two individuals for this job, one to watch the road for cars and the other to collect. High Vis jackets will be supplied, and all cuttings are to be left in green bins or taken to the dump.
Please note that verges that pose a threat due to visibility lines will be partially cut regardless of their CRV status.
Here are the steps needed to take part:
- Identify which verge you’d like to adopt
- Speak to the people who live closest to the verge to get their buy in (you can use our template letter to help you)
- Contact us with the details of the verge and the contact details for the residents’ representative. If you can provide us with a map showing the verge, this will avoid any confusion.
- We will liaise with WSCC to let them know which verges have been adopted and therefore to be left unmown during flowering season.
- When all verges are mown at the end of the summer, you will need to organise volunteers to rake, collect and dispose of any cuttings on your adopted verge.
- Hurst Rethink will draw up a map of all CRVs and share with the wider community so people understand why certain areas have been left to grow.
Who to contact
For any concerns or issues with cutting schedules please contact Steve Hill at WSCC: Steve.Hill@westsussex.gov.uk
Risk and Responsibility: All participants in the CRV scheme need to be completely aware that there can be a risk of injury or death doing any work near a road. All verge work is undertaken at the risk of those taking part. Hurst Rethink or its members will not be responsible for any injury or death incurred during grass collecting or any other activities on the verges.