What’s the buzz?

Newly-elected Metro Mayor (and bee fan) Dan Norris made a bee-line to a Chew Valley nature reserve as part of World Bee Day celebrations.

The Mayor took a walk in one of Folly Farm’s blooming wildflower meadows, which bees and other pollinators love.

While Folly Farm is awash with colour with flowering bluebells and primroses, shockingly 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s spelling trouble for bees.

Habitat destruction and pesticide use mean we have already lost around 13 species of bees. But Ian Barrett from the Avon Wildlife Trust explained to the Metro Mayor how simple steps such as planting flowers can help. The Mayor also learnt how the Wildlife Trust collects seeds at their nature reserves and plant them in more urban areas. 

Metro Mayor Dan Norris wants to make the West of England the Bee and Pollinator Capital of the UK. He said: “Bees matter. Simply put we can’t live without them. It’s been great to find out how Avon Wildlife Trust are helping bees. I wouldn’t give them a B, they deserve an A+. We can’t all plant meadows but we can make our gardens and window boxes bee friendly and back No Mow May. So on this special day for bees let’s pledge to support those buzzing insects who busily produce liquid gold and pollinate so many of our crops to keep the food we eat growing.”

Ian Barrett, Chief Executive of Avon Wildlife Trust, said: “We are facing an ecological emergency, and the figures are worrying. This collapse in numbers looks set to have far-reaching consequences for wildlife and people. However, it’s not too late to act and allow nature to recover. So far, we have restored more than 209 hectares of habitat. We’ve planted 523 hedgerows and 300 trees, engaging with 130 landowners in the process. That’s a lot of results – and we’re ambitious for more.”

About Folly Farm

Wildflower meadows and woodland surround the Folly Farm Centre at the heart of Folly Farm, a 250-acre nature reserve between Bath and Bristol. Avon Wildlife Trust has owned and managed the nature reserve since 1986. 

Folly Farm offers spectacular views over Chew Valley Lake and the Mendips. The wildflower meadows at Folly Farm are of a type now rare in Britain, with 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows lost since the 1930s.

The meadows are unspoilt by pesticides and fertilisers, so they are brimming with flowers such as betony, ox-eye daisy and heath spotted orchid in summer. The wildflower meadows and Dowlings Wood are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).  

A historic-landscape survey of Folly Farm in 1992 revealed that the site was once a medieval deer park, and there are notable remnants of a 1780s ferme ornée, with much planting surviving from the 1820s.