Just opposite the ice cream van on the seafront is Edinburgh Road where the verges closest to the sea, are designated as wild flower verges. This means that the management of these verges, marked with a yellow flower sign, is different to other verges round Seaford, and even to those further up the same road.
Currently all verges are only being cut twice a year, except for health and safety reasons near road junctions. Where the cuttings are left on the verge, this hay breaks down and ultimately nourishes the soil below. Although this benefits the grass, wild flowers mostly require a more impoverished soil in which to flourish.
Wild flower verges, are only cut in the Autumn and the loose plant material is removed so that wild flowers have more chance to flourish.
Our plan was to find out how these verges were doing, and apply to get all the remaining verges in the road designated too.
In late August, under the guidance of Botanist Sarah, a group of us carried out a survey of all the plants found in the wild flower verges. We also looked at some of the “non designated” verges and another designated bank at the top of the street.
Wildlife found in the verge:
We worked in teams, using various ID books and techniques, comparing notes where necessary.
Overall the wild flower verges had 39 species of flower and grasses. The non designated verges surveyed which had only 28.
Along the road we spoke to a couple of local residents. One who was concerned about how unsightly the verge at the top was and another was delighted how varied her long verge was. She had planted a few wild flowers there herself!
Another resident said there used to be signs explaining about the wild flower verges and listing some of the flowers found there. Organising new signs is definitely on our “to do” list!
At the top of the road is a lovely community garden, with a seating area looking down the road. We agreed that this bank was indeed unsightly and lacking diversity and flowering plants. Clearly some work needs to be carried out in this area, to improve the area for both wildlife, and the local residents who want to sit and enjoy the view! If you are interested in finding out more, please do get in touch.
Many thanks to our volunteers.
We look forward to hearing if the application to extend the wild flower verges here is successful.