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Biodiversity to bring back bees

Hart District Council has developed a number of wildflower meadow creation schemes over the last few years to encourage bees back into the area.

The loss of nectar sources across the wider countryside, as a result of agricultural intensification, has been well documented. This has impacted upon the insects which rely on traditionally managed flower-rich meadows, including pollinators such as honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees. There are a host of other invertebrates which thrive in more diverse grassland and these in turn provide food for birds and mammals such as hedgehogs.

These new meadows have been designed to provide an abundance of nectar sources while also being visually attractive and flowering for an extended period. The meadows contain a mixture of native and non-native species, which is appropriate in more suburban locations.

Two of the larger recent schemes are located in Zebon Copse in Church Crookham and Monteagle Park in Yateley. The Zebon scheme is located under a wayleave which was formerly dense scrub that was periodically cut back by the National Grid. The low growing meadow will not need this level of management and will flourish with annual cutting.

Chairman of Hart District Council and member of the Fleet & District Beekeepers’ Association, Cllr Wendy Makepeace-Browne, said “The meadow at Zebon Copse is buzzing with bees and other insects and is really raising the biodiversity value of this area. One of the Council’s key priorities is to protect and enhance biodiversity and it’s great to see that the Hart Countryside team are achieving this.”

Hart worked in partnership with Yateley Town Council to create the meadows in Monteagle Park. The new areas were incorporated into grassland which is already “cut and collected” at the end of the summer. The new areas should increase the nectar sources within the park.

Jane Biscombe of Yateley Town Council added: “The new meadow areas in Monteagle Park look stunning and have been very well received by visitors as well helping pollinating insects.”

For more information about Biodiversity projects co-ordinated by Hart District Council and how you can get involved, visit www.hart.gov.uk/local-countryside-projects.

Chairman Cllr Wendy Makepeace-Browne and Hart Countryside Ranger Chantelle

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