Road verge nature reserves in West Berkshire

A data analysis and interpretation case study describing our part in a road verges project in West Berkshire.

The project

The Berkshire Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) engaged in a project to identify, survey, and manage road verges that play a crucial role in supporting wildlife in West Berkshire.

Road verges can be refuges for important plant species and communities. In some cases, they are the only islands of semi-natural grassland in a landscape. It is vital that we identify and manage these important road verges to preserve their ecological value.

Our approach

We have completed the initial risk assessment phase of this project. Based on many factors, we assigned each road verge a 'high', 'medium', or 'low' risk of deterioration. 

To analyse risk factors, we combined externally sourced data with information from our databases. Key factors considered included pollution levels, species richness, and habitat distinctiveness.

Analytic techniques such as hierarchical cluster analysis and the geometric mean were employed.

Findings and outcomes

We found that 20% of the road verge nature reserves (RVNR) are classified as high risk. This classification enables BBOWT to:

  • survey efforts for specific RVNRs
  • implement effective management strategies promptly

Ultimately, our goal is to enhance the long-term condition of road verges across the district.