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Verges: Sizes and Shapes
The road network was only metalled from the early 19th Century onwards, the verges are comparatively younger than the hedges that standby them. In circa 1972 it was estimated that there were up to 0.415 ha of maintained land/km of road (1.65 acres/mile). Using the Department of Transport figures (1987) of 225,450km (140,100 miles) which would work out at approximately 93,560ha (231,190 acres) of managed land. To which we could then add a further 3645ha (9,000 acres) of banks, burns, tree plantations. This total of 97,200ha (240,000 acres) provides a vital and very large habitat area for plant and animal species.
The average verge width of areas of country is very difficult to work out due to the way that they vary from area to area and county to county as is evidenced below.
|County||Class of Road||Distance||Average Width of Verge|
|.||.||.||km . miles||cm . inches|
|A||Somerset||Trunk||188 . 117||188 . 75|
|.||.||A||655 . 407||130 . 52|
|.||.||B||473 . 294||123 . 49|
|.||.||C||2526 . 1569||108 . 43|
|.||.||Unclassified||3016 . 1873||98 . 49|
|B||Glamorgan||Trunk||98 . 61||98 . 39|
|.||.||A||1419 . 260||35 . 14|
|.||.||B||679 . 422||83 . 33|
|.||.||Unclassified||1014 . 630||60 . 24|
Table:? Width of verges by class of road in Somerset and Glamorgan. Class 1 roads a A category; Class 2 roads are B; Class 3 roads are Minor roads with 4.3m+ of metalling; Unclassified roads have < 4.3m metalling or untarred.
Both counties are some what a typical in that the possess large numbers of low category roads with very narrow verges, however when you look at the average width of the trunk roads and A roads you will notice a massive difference.
This difference may be partially explained by the fact that the roads in Glamorgan tend to pass through cuttings and valleys or are associated with industrial sites or residential areas.
On verges that adjoin a hedgerow, than both these areas share a common number of herbaceous plants. Many of these plants provide food for a variety of birds, animals and insects, with the hedge providing shelter. However when the adjoining hedge is removed all that remains of this once virile source for the wildlife is the verge.
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