The survey confirmed the continued importance of the road verges for plants, in particular species of unimproved limestone grassland. A total of 157 species was recorded** – an outstanding figure for a relatively small site. Outstanding amongst these species are those that are restricted to unimproved grassland, that is, grassland that has not been treated with fertilisers or herbicides. Such grassland has become extremely rare, largely as a result of agricultural intensification. Road verges now provide an important refuge for these plants, particularly where cuttings expose nutrient-poor subsoils. At St. George’s such species include several identified in the ‘Flora of the Bristol Region’ as being ‘Avon Notable Species’ plants with a very localised distribution locally. The populations of all these species are large and healthy. Other grassland indicator species are also present in high quantities.
An incomplete invertebrate survey revealed the presence of species associated with unimproved grassland such as Common Blue butterfly, Grass Rivulet and Small Yellow Underwing. Marbled White Butterfly and Cinnabar Moth are two species regularly seen at other times. A thorough survey of invertebrates will be undertaking during 2006.
** nearly 240 species of plant have been recorded on the site, though many of these would not be in evidence during September.