Biodiversity is the planet’s life support system. Restoring nature underpins the health and wellbeing of people and wildlife in a time of climate change. 

Brighton & Hove Wilder Verges project is a trial to find out if managing verges better can improve their wildlife and biodiversity. The project will include 25 verge sites throughout Brighton & Hove.

Lesser Celandine Road verge off London Rd in Brighton showing tall grass and flowers

Who's involved in the project

We're working with Brighton & Hove’s Wildlife Forum and volunteers from across the city to deliver the project. The aim is to see if changing how we manage mown grassland (like verges), benefits urban nature.    

Natural England is funding this project. It's part of their work to explore the potential of urban nature recovery networks in England. 

To improve how we manage the verges on these sites, we won't mow them from March/April to August/September. This is the main botanical flowering season and will allow the plants to grow to maturity and flower. 

We'll make sure paths and sightlines are clear of obstructions. This may involve cutting back edges or narrow corridors next to paths and road signs. 

Verges - the perfect location for flowery havens 

Verges are perfect areas of unused land, which when left to grow and flower provide havens and corridors for nature. They link up open spaces, parks and gardens throughout the city, like green lungs.

Verges managed for wildlife boost biodiversity, and offer much needed structural and habitat variety. This includes food sources such as nectar and pollen rich flowers, different leaf shapes and a variety of plant heights.

A range of habitats supports a wider variety of insects, spiders, worms and molluscs. In turn this supports wildlife higher up the food chain like mammals and birds. 

Long flowering grasses provide valuable habitat for insects. This benefits other animals as part of the bigger, connected food web.  

Many butterflies and moths lay their eggs or have caterpillars that rely on grasses as food. Birds, such as the city’s iconic starlings, feed on insects for their diet.

Withdean Rise Green Alkanet verge with tall grass and small purple flowers

Raising awareness  

We hope the Wilder Verges project will increase our diverse range of wildlife and plants. This will help residents and visitors feel closer to nature, and create space for nature. 

Through the project, we'll work with local residents to raise awareness of how important our urban verges are for wildlife. We'll also monitor the areas to learn how changes to how often we mow and when we mow impacts our urban nature. 

Project objectives 

We hope to:

  • learn from partner organisations with expertise in reduced mowing
  • engage local communities to support urban biodiversity 
  • learn what role verge management can play in supporting urban nature 
  • inform potential future management of amenity grassland across the city 

More information

The Living Coast website - information about Brighton & Hove Wilder Verges project piloting wildlife grass management for biodiversity across the city.

Plantlife Road Verge Hub.