Verge Survey Group

Verge Survey Group

The Verge Survey Group has a long history and has been instrumental in many sites being designated as Verge Nature Reserves.

Anacamptis morio, Green-winged Orchid, Bernwood Meadows. Photo by Frances Watkins

Attending a verge survey group meeting is an excellent way of honing your plant identification skills. Recently the work has concentrated on sites where target species for the Oxfordshire Rare Plants Register have been seen in the past and also on areas under threat from proposed road developments. Meetings take place throughout the summer. They begin at 6 p.m. Days of the week are usually varied to take account of people’s other commitments. Torrential rain means that the survey will be cancelled.

Butterfly orchid. Photo by Christopher Hoskin

Health and Safety

The main risk on any verge survey bordering or starting from a road is from the traffic. Incidental minor hazards are from uneven ground and encounters with plant defences such as stings and thorns. Neither the Society nor the leader can answer for the safety of participants, who attend at their own risk. The leader will be wearing a high visibility tabard and those attending who have appropriate high-visibility items are enjoined to bring them along and wear them.

Meetings in 2018

This year’s surveys are focused on areas under threat from one or more of the proposed routes for the new Oxford-Cambridge Expressway. As yet there is little detail available of what these are, as public consultation will not be available until after a route has been decided. Each survey targets a verge in one of three important areas for wildlife, as recognised by the Wildlife Trusts and the RSPB and published in their preliminary responses. Because of the leader’s other commitments only three surveys are scheduled this year, but if you would like to add to the programme you are welcome to do so.

The meeting-place details are Ordnance Survey map references; sat. navs. that use only postcodes are not always much use out in the country.

On the day, look for a lime-green coloured Kia Picanto with a BBOWT Warden sticker in the window. Ring 07835 989153 if you have any problems on the evening.

The surveys are simple ones based on a presence/absence record, though we may take more details of rare plants. All are welcome, including beginners who just want to start practising plant identification skills.

How to attend

If you would like to attend one of these meetings it is essential that you phone 01865 761110, using the answerphone if necessary, so that if plans change, you can be informed.

Bee orchid. Photo by Christopher Hoskin