The Bumblebee Conservation Trust was set up in 2006 with the purpose of halting and, if possible, reversing declines in bumblebee populations in the UK.
The project aims to provide habitat to support and expand one of the few remaining populations of the shrill carder bee, which is thought to be on the verge of extinction in the UK. The project will support a wide variety of other flora and fauna as well as providing an attractive new route for walkers with opportunities to learn about the value of the habitats at and around the Castlemartin range in Pembrokeshire on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. The aims of the project are:
- To increase connectivity of habitats for the shrill carder bee
- To create/restore larger areas of wildflower habitat adjacent to the new path
- To implement sensitive management on land surrounding the path with local farmers and land managers
- To raise awareness of bumblebees, why they need conserving and what needs to be done to conserve Pembrokeshire’s rare bumblebees
Work has gone well on this project so far. 10.5 hectares (original target 2-3 hectares) of grassland is now in favourable management along or near the trail, with a further 50 hectares identified for the same. Machinery that is compatible with existing machinery has been purchased, enabling a greater variety of habitat management tasks to be carried out as part of the project at no additional cost.
Two events have taken place, including a bumblebee celebration day (during which time five species in five minutes – including the brown banded carder bumblebee, one of the rarest bees in the UK – were spotted!). Three further events are planned for 2012.
Project banners and interpretation boards have been designed and produced, and volunteers from a local mental health charity have helped with work on one section of the path.