Burnley park project aims to bring back black honeybees

Environmental charity Groundwork Pennine Lancashire is attempting to re-introduce the indigenous black honeybee to Burnley and surrounding areas.

The Bees in the Borough project, which has been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the John Paul Getty Foundation, forms part of the charity's Offshoots permaculture project at Towneley Park.

The two-year project aims to create 200 hives holding 10 million of the bees, which have seen a decline during the 20th century. Volunteers are taking part in beekeeping courses and will be given hives for their gardens.

Bee-friendly plants including marjoram, borage and Limnanthes are also being grown using Offshoots beds and polytunnels. They will be planted in the grounds of Towneley Hall and 10,000 plug plants will be distributed throughout parks and green spaces across the area.

Groundwork resident beekeeper Dave Rayner said: "We are fortunate in Burnley to be surrounded by high moorlands. This provides a unique delivery opportunity to escalate the black honeybee gene pool without it being diluted as queens and drones go beyond the moorland edges. Without the bees, we could lose a lot of our native plants."

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