The West Country Buzz (WCB) project, now in its second year, is working with landowners around the south west to support pollinator-friendly land management.
It’s been a busy few months, and things are set to get busier now that applications are open for the Countryside Stewardship scheme. WCB is helping farmers through the application process, selecting the best options for supporting pollinators in the countryside. This includes creating flower-rich margins, reducing grazing pressure to allow pasture to flower, and managing hedgerows to encourage plants to flower and to provide nesting space. The majority of the time spent on the project is in providing landowner advice on how to encourage pollinators, either through tweaks to current management and voluntary measures, or through Countryside Stewardship.
At a talk at the beginning of this month to the Young Farmers Club in Threemilestone, Cornwall, there was a lively discussion around bees in the farmed landscape. The audience proved themselves to be inventive, enthusiastic and engaged and talked about the importance of working together to create habitat for bumblebees at a bigger scale.
An important part of the project is to share the good work that so many farmers are doing for bumblebees. For example, orchard growers involved in the project are now leaving long grass margins to encourage bumblebee nesting. Others have decided to gap up hedgerows where they can. This helps to create vital habitat corridors, allowing bumblebees and other wildlife to move through the landscape to disperse and find food and mates. You can keep up to date with the project by following us on twitter @BuzzingDevon. Alternatively, you can read more on our projects page: West Country Buzz.