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On the road to conservation

This is an archived press release

Friday 17 November 2006

17 November 2006

On the road to conservation

Volunteers simulated grazing cattle to help restore a Peak District roadside verge to its colourful glory next summer.

National Park Countryside Volunteers Roger Ashby and Dave Wright were working with National Park rangers on a verge near Hartington – one of 20 verges identified as roadside nature reserves to encourage wild flowers and wildlife.

This verge is particularly valuable because it is an isolated pocket of once-widespread limestone heath. However, it had become choked with invasive coarse grass, which in the past would have been grazed by stock on their way to market.

 So Roger, of Hale, Cheshire, and Dave, of Wensley, near Matlock, helped the rangers clear the grass to let heather, bilberry and wild flowers flourish next season. The group also chopped down a sycamore and spread cut heather on prepared areas to provide seed.

National Park conservation officer Fiona Everingham, who is working with Derbyshire County Council and the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust on the Road Verge Reserve scheme, said: “The hope is that the heather and bilberry will be able to flourish in the more open conditions, and this tiny remnant of a once-extensive habitat within the White Peak will be conserved for future generations.”

Signs marked “Road Verge Reserve” will appear on selected verges throughout the county over the coming months. Many of the reserves were identified by local communities as being particularly rich in wild flowers.

Countryside Volunteers go out regularly to help look after the National Park, restoring paths, dry-stone walls, installing gates and bridges – and occasionally, simulating grazing cattle.

To find out more about the Road Verge Reserves contact Rebekah Newman on 01629 816397 or the rangers at Parsley Hay 01298 84992. To find out more about Countryside Volunteering, contact the rangers admin office on 01629 816290.

This is an archived press release

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