The Ashmolean Natural History Society
The Verge Survey Group has a long history and has been instrumental in many sites being designated as Verge Nature Reserves.
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. 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.
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.
Most of this year's surveys are focused on land adjacent to the A40, to set up a partial base-line in case plans to dual the road are developed. Three are road verges, and one is a green lane leading off the road. One survey includes a site where a Lizard Orchid has appeared for the last two years. The meeting-place details are Ordnance Survey map references; sat. navs that use only postcodes are not always much use out in the country.
Parking arrangements are slightly provisional in a couple of cases. 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.
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.