Wildlife corridors are long tracts of land that interconnect habitats, allowing the movement of species across an otherwise hostile environment. In Britain today, urban, agricultural and industrial development puts a huge strain on the survival of many plants and animals, not only through direct loss of habitat, but also due to the fact that some species cannot readily migrate long distances, perhaps to breeding grounds, or to new areas when life in their own region becomes unsustainable. Wildlife corridors contain a huge diversity of species, providing food and shelter over relatively long distances.
Some wildlife corridors have been in place for many centuries and have evolved ecosystems of their own as well as effectively aiding the passage of migrating animals. These include the miles of hedgerows, ditches, embankments and green lanes found in rural areas of the country. Hundreds of species of birds, insects, small mammals and plants rely on them as a last refuge while ancient woods and pasture lands are turned over to sterile, modern farming techniques or lost forever in the growing sprawl of housing.
Tragically, many of these traditional features are disappearing from the landscape through neglect and mismanagement; even the inadvertent vandalism of country lovers, with their boots, bikes and off-road vehicles takes its toll. But there is a glimmer of hope: the verges of modern roads, motorways and railway tracks are left practically untouched by man, apart from a little routine maintenance that prevents them becoming too overgrown. More than that, politicians are finally becoming aware of the importance of conservation, and it is now policy, in many areas, to plant these areas with a diverse but natural array of flora which in turn attract the animals once common in the open countryside. I have been delighted to see wild orchids, butterflies, buzzards and even deer grazing on the man-made meadow that is the verge of the M5.