As news of the new action plan to protect 1,500 species of pollinators devised by the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) emerged earlier this week, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority has announced its own plans to protect pollinators with news that Craig y Nos Country Park has just become home to a set of beehives.
In response to the decline of pollinators in Wales, Craig y Nos Country Park, owned by Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, has introduced two hives, which are occupied by more than 30,000 bees and there are now plans underway to establish more hives on other sites owned by the National Park Authority. With the British bee population in decline, the Country Park is a great place for honeybees – a place where they can thrive in a protected ecosystem and insect friendly paradise free from pesticides and other hazards that threaten the species.
The idea came about when National Park Warden Ian Penn, was undertaking some work on a building at Craig y Nos and discovered that wild bees had created hives in the walls. The wild bees were rehomed to a safe location in Swansea but once the work was completed Ian began to explore ways of reintroducing bees within the Park. Local beekeeper David Bentley-Miller responded to the National Park Authority’s adverts on the on the Welsh Beekeepers Association website and the hives were installed a few months later. The hives are situated away from public footpaths but are visible from the classroom located at the site, so students will be able to view them and learn how honeybees collect their food, structure their hives and turn pollen and nectar into honey and beeswax – which we hope to sell at the Country Park next year.
Paul Sinnadurai, Conservation Manager for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority said: “The introduction of beehives at Craig y Nos Country Park is our first direct step towards protecting these pollinators that, together with other insects, are vital for fertilising plants so they produce fruits and seeds. Our long-term goal is to set up more hives on National Park Authority owned land, where it is safe to do so, so that we are overlapping the whole area. When we look at the figures regarding the steady decline of honeybee colonies it’s alarming. As a National Park Authority we are taking action to ensure that pollinators are protected. Not everyone can be a beekeeper but we are urging everyone to play a part in helping pollinators. Simple things like planting more bee-friendly wild flowers and allowing grass to grow longer can make a huge difference to boosting the work of pollinators and protecting our ecosystems. We and other landowners also help bees and other pollinators with habitat management work to maintain and enhance wilder places.”
David Bentley Miller, Chief Executive of the Welsh Mental Health Charity POBL said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have the privilege of being the beekeeper at Craig y Nos. Bees are vital and the Park Authority has recognised this in allowing us the privilege of keeping our hives there. Additionally, as the Chief Executive of a mental health charity, there is a proven link between getting out in the fresh air and improved mental well-being. This project will help so many people on many levels. I cannot thank the Park Authority enough for their foresight and we look forward to many years of working together to ensure we do our bit to raise the profile of bees and their vital place in the eco-system’.”
Margaret Underwood, Member Champion for Biodiversity at Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority said: “Welsh gardens aren’t complete without the honeybee and National Park Authority land is no exception. We are delighted to have two new beehives at Craig y Nos Country Park – at 40 acres this former Victorian Garden of Adelina Patti has just about everything a honeybee could wish for including ornamental and exotic trees like walnut, acacia, mulberry, as well as oaks and beech. With so many winter and spring flowering trees and shrubs there is enough here to feed the bees all year round. Speaking on behalf of all Members, we are looking forward to hearing about the next site in line for beehives.”
If there are beekeepers interested in keeping hives on National Park owned land please contact Samantha Sinclair on 01874 620 420 or email Samantha.firstname.lastname@example.org