Stratford's Protected Verge
Under a scheme begun in 1970, around fifty road verges throughout Wiltshire are designated as Protected Road verges because of their special habitat, species or ecological interest.
On Stratford Road between Mill Lane and the school is a length of protected verge, each end marked by a wooden post.
Over 150 plant species have been recorded in this short stretch of verge.
Protected verges are subject to special management by Wiltshire Council or the Highways Authority. Each verge is monitored by a volunteer whose duties are to check the condition of the verge regularly and the performance of those species, communities or features for which the verge was designated. Volunteer protected road verge monitors are appointed by Wiltshire Council and the Wiltshire and Swindon Biological Records Centre (WSBRC), a part of the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Ltd (WWT) and as such they fall within the category of WWT volunteers and are covered by the same regulations.
Each monitor is supplied with a map, species list, details of the management plan for the verge* , details of the health and safety criteria agreed for monitoring, and copies of blank monitoring forms which are completed and returned to the Trust on an annual basis.
More Information: https://www.wsbrc.org/projects/protected-road-verges/
* Plan for the Stratford sub Castle Protected verge:
'The verge should not be cut between 1 May and 31 August but must be cut outside this period to control rank vegetation.'
Amongst the wild flower species that have been recorded as growing on the Stratford Road Protected Verge is Wild Clary Salvia verbenacea. The image of Wild Clary (left) was taken on an unprotected verge in Stratford by former Monitor, Mike d'Apice.
The images below were all taken on the Stratford Road Protected verge.
Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis)
Image: Kerry O'Connor, July 2019. Vespertine flowers ie they open in the evening and leaves with 3 prominent veins. It is poisonous but leaves and roots can be used to produce soap which was used by woollen mills.
Rosy Garlic (Allium roseum)
Image: Kerry O'Connor, May 2020. Edible (flowers raw, leaves and bulb raw or cooked). Garden escapee loved by butterflies but hated by squirrel and deer.
Wild carrot (Daucus carota)
Image: Kerry O'Connor, July 2019. The roots are white. The orange cultivars were selectively bred by the Dutch in the 17C as a tuber tribute to their ruling House of Orange (Nassau).
Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum)
Image: Kerry O'Connor, July 2020. Possibly a garden escapee.