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Mown down: The wildlife toll on UK's roadsides


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Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

Our obsession with neatness is harming plants, bees and butterflies.

 

Would you like to see a new national park created in Britain? At no cost? It could be done today, and all it would take is restraint from councils and highways authorities. How? We stop our countrywide obsession with mowing and strimming roadside verges, and treat nearly all of their 600,000 acres as hay meadows.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/mown-down-the-wildlife-toll-on-uks-roadsides-8640800.html

Edited by knocker
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Posted
  • Location: East Devon
  • Location: East Devon

Finally! the number of times I see strimmers come and pointlessly strim long grass verges and areas as a variety of flowers are out or about to burst into colour.. to leave a mess of shriveling grass cuttings that turn brown and don't even look tidier at all, along with brownish short grass.

 

Just yesterday it might have been, I heard a display of bluebells was accidentally mown down.

 

These are often along quieter lanes too, e.g some visible from my home in Devon that aren't in the slightest blocking the view of road traffic, there is a hedge far closer to the road hiding some of the grass that gets cut anyway (a small section last year was left due to some Japanese knot weed presence and them not wanting to spread strimmings of it - a blessing in disguise.)

 

Considering virtually all other areas get cut, lawns, or hay fields etc, it seems just ridiculous to mow down these areas too which all that does is threaten wildlife, reduce habitats for species like bees and flowers in decline, and wastes money which could be better spent elsewhere.

Edited by Stormmad26
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Posted
  • Location: inter drumlin South Tyrone Blackwater river valley surrounded by the last last ice age...
  • Weather Preferences: jack frost
  • Location: inter drumlin South Tyrone Blackwater river valley surrounded by the last last ice age...

Equally important is the ivy on our trees ..and everyone seems at war with it !

Edited by be cause
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Posted
  • Location: Exile from Argyll
  • Location: Exile from Argyll

Apart from the fact that uncut verges are a visibility hinderance for emerging traffic, surely roadsides are the last places we should be encouraging wildlife habitat. We have a large rural garden, at least 50% is left overgrown - it doesn't look that great from a human perspective, the benefit is in enjoying the wildlife it encourages.

 

Individuals can do much more to promote sanctuary for wildlife, even in small inner city gardens.

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Posted
  • Location: East Devon
  • Location: East Devon

Apart from the fact that uncut verges are a visibility hinderance for emerging traffic, surely roadsides are the last places we should be encouraging wildlife habitat. We have a large rural garden, at least 50% is left overgrown - it doesn't look that great from a human perspective, the benefit is in enjoying the wildlife it encourages.

 

Individuals can do much more to promote sanctuary for wildlife, even in small inner city gardens.

 

I agree to an extent, but there isn't really much other space left, due to grass cut for hay or most people being obsessive over neat and tidy gardens and lawns. It's great for the people that have larger gardens though and habitats away from roads are even better of course.

 

On motorways there are often larger banks with some grassy areas set back from the road, and many of the banks/verges are on quieter roads or quiet country lanes. Cutting close to the road in some cases I am ok with, but often areas further in and completely out of the way are strimmed.

 

In most cases what is cut was not a visibility hindrance to emerging traffic in my experience

I also think the uncut verges often look great compared to the mess or yellow/brown grass left afterwards.

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Posted
  • Location: North York Moors
  • Location: North York Moors

This was on BBC site a week or two ago, not cutting at all is almost as bad as cutting too much.Ideally they should be cut once or twice per year and crucially. most of the material should be removed.

If it is left in place after cutting - or not cut at all - the fertility increases which encourages coarse weedy plants like nettles, cow parsley, docks and thistles.Since this is practically never done, most verges are dominate by plants as above and could be so much better.The best examples are on steep rocky embankments or cuttings which can never get the fertility build up.

In the past far more verges were grazed or even cut for hay on a small scale to feed a house cow for example.Doing that keeps the fertility lower by removing nutrients.

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Posted
  • Location: Camborne
  • Location: Camborne

I didn't want to start another thread but a wee note on hedgehogs. © The Times.

 

GPS reveals life and death of hedgehogs

Posted Image

 

For the first time in Britain, scientists have attached GPS trackers to a group of hedgehogs to learn more about their lives and, in several cases, their grisly deaths.

 

With spines offering little protection from cars, electric fences and garden machinery, the study found that humans were behind half of the deaths. Scientists at Nottingham Trent University followed 90 hedgehogs — 30 of them fitted with radio transmitting equipment — and observed 20 deaths. Six of them, or 30 per cent ended up as roadkill. Others fell victim to poorly maintained electric fences.

 

Richard Yarnell, one of the researchers, told BBC Radio 4 that one hedgehog lost spines to a strimmer: “We found her attacked by a dog, without the protection of the spines.†Dr Yarnell added: “We’ve had a number of instances where strimmers and the like — have impacted on our animals.

 

Though badgers are one of the few predators that can penetrate a hedgehog’s spines, the researchers found only one instance of a badger-related death in its study. Others were attributed to animals, unidentifiable causes and an unstable dislodged hay bale.

 

Dr Yarnell said that the hedgehog population may have declined by as much as 25 per cent in the past ten years and encouraged people to take care when cutting or burning long vegetation.

 

http://www.newsxs.com/en/go/12399114/The_Times/

Edited by knocker
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Posted
  • Location: North York Moors
  • Location: North York Moors

I've no idea how they think an electric fence can be 'poorly maintained' or capable of killing.It sounds like someone does not have a clue as to how they work.

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Posted
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and lots of it or warm and sunny, no mediocre dross
  • Location: Cheddar Valley, 20mtrs asl

All the verges in this area are left, the council come along and tidy them up July/August time, but that's it. There is the odd junction where visibility is a problem, but the council usually get round to doing that too. The verges are currently a sea of Cow Parsley, Campion, Bluebells, Wild Garlic and Buttercups. Earlier in the year, they were brimming with Violets, Primroses and Cowslips.

 

One thing we do suffer from around here though is over eager farmers. Every year, without fail, come the Autumn when the hedgerows are brimming with Hawthorn berries, Rosehips and Blackberries, ready for the birds to feast on to build them up before winter, the blinking farmers come along and chop the lot down. There's absolutely no reason why they couldn't be left until late winter/early spring, at least then the birds would have a chance of some food during the winter. 

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Posted
  • Location: NE of Kendal 215m asl
  • Location: NE of Kendal 215m asl

I cannot stand the 'neat and tidy brigade'! Thankfully the lanes around here are left un-mown, always chock full of wild flowers. I was disappointed to see a local roundabout cut the other day, from a sea of yellow dandelions to brown, dead grass. Think of the money that councils could save.

 

Hedgerows are another thing, so many around here are butchered back to almost nothing, not much life in them. One local farmer lets his grow, just cutting anything growing into the road, the hawthorn there is brimming with flowers and fruit, intertwined with honeysuckle. They look great and are brilliant for wildlife while hardly encroaching on his fields. If everyone was a bit more lazy and untidy the world would be a better place!

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Posted
  • Location: N.Bedfordshire, E.Northamptonshire
  • Weather Preferences: Cool not cold, warm not hot. No strong Wind.
  • Location: N.Bedfordshire, E.Northamptonshire

As long as signs and junctions are clear then the rest can be left to nature.

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