A GROUP of conservation volunteers in south Shropshire is calling for roadside verges to be left uncut to benefit plants and wildlife.

Restoring Shropshire’s Verges Project (RSVP) is working with Shropshire Council, the Stepping Stones Project and the National Trust to protect verges in south Shropshire, leaving them to grow wild until late summer.

To raise awareness and help people understand why these verges are being left to grow, volunteers have put up signs that say: ‘Don’t mow, let it grow. These verges are being managed for wildlife.’

South Shropshire has some of the best wildflower verges in the county, but sadly they are being cut far too early in the year.

Early cutting stops wildflowers from growing and setting seed. When the cuttings are left on the ground to rot down, the fertility levels of the soil increases and invasive plants like nettles, brambles and hogweed develop, crowding out wildflowers.

The biodiversity of roadsides is reducing and will eventually be lost if the verges are cut before the plants have chance to flower in the summer, says the RSVP.

“When left to grow, wildflowers provide pollinators likes bees and butterflies with food and shelter for small mammals, birds and other invertebrates,” said Peter Carthy, chair of RSVP.

“Known as the ‘Meadow Maker’, Yellow Rattle is one of the most important wildflower species to establish in a meadow habitat. It’s a semi-parasitic plant that weakens grass growth and allows wildflowers to establish more quickly.

“There are lots of ways you can get involved and support our work. Have a go at planting wildflowers in your garden. Dog Daisy, Knapweed, Bettany and Cowslip are all good species to grow.

“If you want help to turn your local verge into a haven for wildlife, get in touch with the RSVP.”