Under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act, Hildersham Parish Council, in common with every other public authority, must always show regard for conserving biodiversity. (See also the Biodiversity Strategy for England: Biodiversity 2020).
In the spring of 2020, Hildersham Parish Council demonstrated their concern for biodiversity by giving formal support to the Pollinator Action Plan (for more information on PAPs, see the Horseheath PC website).
One of the principal concerns of the PAP is to encourage bees, which play a very important role in the pollination of plants that provide food for us.
(More on local pollinators).
In recent years, bees have been finding it ever more difficult to survive, especially as the countryside is suffering contamination by chemicals from pesticides and weedkillers. In time to come, more than 30 species of bees could become extinct.
Gardens free of weed-killers and pesticides can also grow flowers that encourage bees: buttercups, red clover, nepita (cat mint), annual dahlias, cornflowers, hellebores, lavender, alliums, caryopteris, verbena bonariensis, and muscari.
There is growing evidence of the harmful effects that pesticide use can have on pollinators and other wildlife. Local Authorities should aim to use pesticides only if absolutely necessary … and avoid using pesticides on flowering plants or where pollinators are active or nesting.
Of particular concern is the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. (“Helping pollinators locally,” #5, p. 14, PDF 16).
Part of the thinking behind the Pollinator Action Plan incorporates a strategy designed to encourage councils to reconsider a desire for neatness and tidiness, and to let “neatly-mown grass verges become mini meadows where wildflowers and wildlife can flourish”. Bees love displays of wild flowers such as cow-parsley.
“Changing mowing regimes on road verges etc. [would] allow more wildflowers to bloom naturally. Roadside verges and roundabouts are often maintained as short grassland. This may be required for road safety purposes but often it is just carried out as it has always been done this way. Reducing cutting frequencies, or creating wildflower lawns or meadows can be an effective way to provide attractive areas beneficial to pollinators and potentially reduce management costs. Likewise hedge cutting regimes can be changed to allow better structure to develop in hedgerows and flowering shrubs to bloom for longer.
“The precise timing of mowing regimes depends on the vegetation being managed. As a general rule nectar-rich plants should be allowed to finish their flowering period. Early flowering species such as Dandelion and Primrose are of particular value for pollinators as they emerge in the spring.” (“Helping pollinators locally:”#4, p. 14, PDF 16).
Hildersham Churchyard writes (May 2021):
“As we journey through the seasons, we are hoping to allow areas of the churchyard to become a haven for all manner of wildlife while retaining a respectful and caring attitude towards the gravestones and memorials.
“So, if you are passing in midsummer and the grass looks long and overgrown, it is actually the beginnings of our summer meadow that will hopefully bring birds, flowers, butterflies and bees to glorify what is already a beautiful space.”
Habitat Maps (2015):
(These maps will at some point be updated by CPERC)
Do any Hildersham residents or visitors have any photographs of verges or gardens with the sort of flowers that attact bees that could be included on this page? If so, please contact the Parish Council.