Supporting our solitary bees
Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the Cornwall AONB, the Wheal Buzzy Project is a unique and innovative project, placing people at the heart of mining bee conservation across the outstanding landscapes of the Cornwall AONB. Solitary bees, in particular mining bees, are excellent pollinators and favour sites like abandoned mines.
There are more than 190 species of bee in Cornwall, with 120 being solitary, which are so named because, unlike honeybees and bumblebees, they do not live in colonies.
What the project will do
The Cornish AONB is of national significance for its bee fauna and the mine sites within this are important for a number of reasons. They have post-industrial habitats of great importance to solitary bees and other insects, in particular bare ground and early succession grassland or heathland on the disturbed spoil of the workings. Other features include south facing structures such as banks and walls for nest sites. Many mine sites have been excluded from intensive agricultural practices and have retained semi-natural flower-rich habitats now rare in intensive farmland. They also have great habitat connectivity, in particular coastal mine sites, which are close to long strips of connected coastal flower-rich habitats of high significance for their pollinator fauna. However bees, such as mining bees, are in startling decline across Cornwall. The Wheal Buzzy Project will work against these threats, by bringing together land owners and communities to create flower-rich habitats for solitary bees across the AONB including West Penwith, part of the Lizard, Godrevy Head to St Agnes and North Cornwall.
This will work be done in two ways: -
Firstly, by influencing landowners across the AONB on the management of their land to better protect solitary bees as well by planting new wildflower meadows by agreement with the National Trust, Town and Parish Councils, Churches and Community Groups, including Bosavern Community Farm, Steeple Woodland Local Nature Reserve, the St Agnes Local Improvements Committee and St Ives Community Orchard groups. A minimum of 22 hectares of land will be improved for bees on 16 different sites across the AONB.
Secondly, by engaging with the public to help us stop the decline in solitary bees by undertaking recording surveys of iconic bees, working with schools to improve their grounds and community spaces, developing educational resources, facilitating school and college visits to mine sites, setting up Bee Healthy Guided Walks and adopting mine sites to maintain their important habitats. At the same time this work will help more local people and our visitors enjoy, appreciate and benefit from getting out and about in the AONB area.
By working in these ways we will help connect people with nature, improve people’s health and wellbeing, be able to undertake focused conservation work that connects across wider landscapes, counter the effects of damaging human activities and recognise the vital role lesser known pollinators play in sustaining and improving life on earth.
Thanks to National Lottery Players and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Wheal Buzzy is funded through to May 2020 with plenty of opportunity for local people and our visitors to get involved.
We are able to offer participation on our Bee Healthy Walks Programme, opportunities to learn more about solitary bees as well as volunteering opportunities to help us to plant and develop some of the new meadow sites across the AONB.
Upcoming ‘Buzzy’ events
Check out our events listings for a Wheal Buzzy event near you.
To find out more contact Charlotte Goodship, our Wheal Buzzy Project Officer at email@example.com or on (01872) 322307.