Bees Needs': East of England case studies
Stotfold Mill Meadows Local Nature Reserve – Bees’ Needs Champions Award Winner 2018
Stotfold Mill Meadows is a Local Nature Reserve in Bedfordshire consisting of 3 meadows that were used for cattle grazing until 1999. Since then, the site has been managed for conservation purposes.
One of these meadows has been the focus of management to support wildflowers and pollinators. In 2016 TEASEL, local conservation volunteers who take care of the reserve, over-seeded the meadow with a wildflower mix from Emorsgate. With the help of our friendly and very supportive local farmer the meadow was disc harrowed to expose bare soil within the existing sward. This was then hand broadcast across the site by the volunteers.
Since seeding a late summer hay cut has been taken to continue to remove nutrients from the meadow. An area that was becoming overrun with nettles and dock has been turned into a flowery haven for pollinators and people alike. With picnic benches and mown paths through the meadow everyone can enjoy the beauty of the Reserve. Local groups including, Cubs and Brownies and schools come to visit the Reserve to learn about wildlife and get back in touch with the outdoors.
A degree student joined the project in summer 2019 and her work involved surveying the plants and invertebrates found in the meadow. 2019 noticed a marked increase in the number of pollinators enjoying the site and we hope this trend continues.
Keep the buzz in Leighton Buzzard
Norfolk Federation of Women's Institutes
Harlow Town Park, Essex
Harlow Town Park is leading the way locally with helping pollinators in a number of projects across the 160 acres of Parkland. They’ve been winners of a Bees’ Needs Champions Award in 2017 and 2019.
The Park is managed by Harlow Council who has worked with Harlow Wildlife Projects, Harlow Conservation Volunteers, the Councils Greenteam and Town Park volunteers and Friends of Harlow Pets Corner on a number of projects to support pollinators as follows:
- Stort Valley Wildflower meadow creation – created in 2018 with funding secured by Harlow Wildlife Projects from Tesco’s Community Bag scheme. This has transformed an area of poor grassland into a species-rich area of Ox-eye Daisies, Red Campion and other pollinator-friendly wildflowers. Paths have been mown through the area to allow greater access to the public to enjoy the grassland
- Walled Garden beehive- this has been installed and managed by the Friends of Harlow Pets Corner. The honey produced is then sold in the Pets Corner shop, and is popular with local asthma sufferers.
- Bee-friendly garden, Walled Garden- this small garden was created by the Town Park volunteers next to the beehive, it is planted with pollinator-friendly plants- the buddleia planted there last year attracted in many Painted Lady butterflies who fed on the nectar from the plants. It promotes other plants that local people can plant in their gardens or even window boxes around Harlow;
- Wildflower meadows- areas of grassland that have been left uncut through the summer and then mown in autumn by HTS the Parks ground maintenance team. Plants such as Knapweed, Birds foot trefoil and other pollinator-friendly plants have thrived here. Notices explaining the management and why they have been left uncut have been installed to counter criticism that the area is being left untidy. This also includes an area of turf transferred from a threatened wildflower verge which includes Bee orchids.
We hope to increase the area of wildflower meadows in the park through consultation with local people and the Town Park Users Group (TPUG) plus plant more wildlife and pollinator plants across the park such as Catmint, Lavender and Rosemary.’