Parks and community gardens win Bees Needs Awards

Pollinator-friendly parks and green spaces are honoured.

Local authorities across the country are developing pollinator-friendly parks
Local authorities across the country are developing pollinator-friendly parks

A total of 19 parks and green spaces were among the winners of Bees’ Needs Champions Awards today.

The awards, hosted by the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and presented by the minister for rural affairs and biosecurity Lord Gardiner, showcased bee-friendly initiatives which had successfully adopted the Government’s National Pollinator Strategy.

Award-winners that have picked up a Bees’ Needs Award in 2016 include Severn Valley Country Park, run by Shropshire Council.

Parks and green spaces officer Edward Andrews spoke at the event about how the parks department had created 'Spring Pieces', lowland meadows in the park between March and July, with up to 30 wildflower species per square metre. The hay is left to grow and then cut and grazed.

"On new meadow land we chain harrow then add cut hay from Spring Pieces to seed it. There has been a 97 per cent decline in hay meadows because of fertiliser/herbicide use and so we are reseeding. A key establisher plant is the yellow rattle."

Andrews also recommended wildflower meadows: "The only problem is there is quite a bit of rotovating and buying seed every year," he said. 

Another winner is the Grow Mayow Community Garden in Mayow Park, in the London Borough of Lewisham, where the community group has set up an education project, investing in a bee hive and equipment and planted wild flowers and a large nectar bar.

The scheme now sees local primary schools using Grow Mayow as their outdoor science classroom and is raising awareness of the need to protect bees with the next generation.

Green Flag Award manager Paul Todd said Green Flag Award-winners and Green Flag Community Award-winners were stepping up to meet the challenge posed to improve our environment for the benefit of pollinators.

"We are impressed by the commitment they are showing."

Lord Gardiner said: "Pollinators are essential for food production and the environment. The Bees’ Needs champions show us how to keep our pollinators happy and healthy all year round, and their efforts are an inspiration for us all."

There were six categories overall: youth groups, schools, local authorities, farming, construction and community groups. 

 Winners – Green Flag Award sites

Park name

Managing Organisation

The Level

Brighton and Hove Council

Pittville Park

Cheltenham Borough Council

Old Town Recreation Ground

Eastbourne Borough Council

Cedars Park

Broxbourne Borough Council & Friends of Cedars Park

Barnwood Park & Arboretum

Gloucester City Council

Harlow Town Park

Harlow Council

Beacon Park

Lichfield District Council

Clandon Wood Natural Burial Site

Natural Burial UK

Wallsend Parks

North Tyneside Council

Centenary Park

Rugby Borough Council

Severn Valley Country Park

Shropshire Council

Silloth Green

Silloth Town Council

Stratford Park

Stroud Council

University of York

University of York

Jephson Gardens

Warwick District Council

Beacon Country Park

West Lancashire Council

Winners – Green Flag Community Award sites

Park name

Managing Organisation

Forty Hall park

Friends of Forty Hall Park

Mayow Park

Grow Mayow Community Garden

Heaton Park

Manchester & District Beekeepers Assoc

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