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Boost for north Shropshire’s bees thanks to new countryside membership scheme

North Shropshire’s bees are set for a brighter future thanks to money raised from Shropshire Council’s new countryside membership scheme.

The ‘Shropshire’s Great Outdoors’ scheme was launched in December 2016 with all membership fees put towards the maintenance of Shropshire Council’s countryside parks and sites.

Now, the money raised in the first year of the scheme is to be used to improve and enhance the Bee Metropolis that sits alongside The Mere at Ellesmere and provides a home to solitary bees and other invertebrates.

The planned work includes enhanced wildflower beds and new information boards showing types of British bees and the food plants they require to survive. It will be carried out in early summer 2018, and the start of work will be marked with a special bee-themed day of events and activities at the site, including a bee safari run by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. Further details will be announced shortly.

Meanwhile, the Shropshire’s Great Outdoors scheme has been developed for its second year to appeal to a greater range of people, and the list of member benefits has also been revised and improved, and it’s hoped that the list of member benefits will continue to grow in the coming year.

Shaun Burkey, country parks and sites officer with Shropshire Council, said: “The Bee Metropolis was created for our bees which, as we know, are suffering terribly due to a number of factors including pesticides and a lack of nectar-rich flowering plants. When three beech trees became diseased and had to be felled we decided to create the Bee Metropolis. Deadwood is great for insects providing food for birds and mammals. Hundreds of holes have also been drilled into the deadwood, and these are used by solitary bees as nest chambers.

“Nectar-rich cornfield flower-beds have been planted around the Bee Metropolis and we hope visitors will be inspired to plant bee-friendly plants in their gardens to give our bees a chance for their and our futures.”

The  Mere country park is managed and maintained by Shropshire Council.

For more information about the Shropshire’s Great Outdoors scheme, and to join, visit www.shropshiresgreatoutdoors.co.uk.

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