West Country Buzz

Overview

West Country Buzz works with a variety of stakeholders to support farmers and landowners in Devon to adopt pollinator-friendly farming practices, helping to increase wild pollinators on their farms and across the landscape. The project takes into account arable, pastoral and mixed farming practices.

Since the project began in March 2016, West Country Buzz has advised on over 1,600 hectares of land and delivered various farm days and workshops.

Current work

Providing free one-to-one tailored advice for farmers on habitat management for pollinators. Working with farmers in Devon and the wider south west to encourage uptake of the new Countryside Stewardship Scheme: Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package, which provides guidance and funding to help manage farmland better for bees and other wildlife. Support and advice is available from our Conservation Officer on where to locate options for biggest impact and success; ongoing management advice; and assistance with the application process. The project also focuses on increasing bumblebee recording in Devon to help us monitor populations, detect warning signs, and target conservation efforts.

Future work

Following another successful summer in 2017, the level of interest and positive response received has demonstrated the need and demand for one-to-one landowner advisory work. However, the project has highlighted the need to focus its efforts along the north Devon coast, the last stronghold for the Brown-banded carder bee (Bombus humilis) and Moss carder bee (Bombus muscorum) in the county. Both species are listed under Section 41 of the 2006 NERC Act (S41 species), identified as species of principal importance in England for conservation due to their significant long-term nationwide decline.

With the generous support from the Prince of Wales Charitable Foundation, the project will begin to shift its focus to this area of Devon delivering three key elements: surveying and monitoring, advice and support to landowners, farmers and the general public and increasing the area of suitable habitat for these two carder bee species.

Further information about the project can be accessed by downloading our factsheet.

Funding

The project is part-funded by Natural England as part of DEFRA’s National Pollinator Strategy. We would also like to thank the Co-op, John Lewis, Norman Family Trust and Naturesave Trust for their generous funding towards the project.

Get involved

Please check our Volunteering Opportunities page for details of how to get involved with this project.

For more information, or to arrange a farm visit please contact cathy.horsley@bumblebeeconservation.org

Alternatively, you can follow the project on Twitter @BuzzingDevon

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Registered Charity No. 1115634 / Scottish Charity No. SC042830