Most if not all our projects are based locally in Levenshulme or nearby.
Highfield’s Bee Sanctuary
We have been working across the length of the two entrances on Cringle Road to Highfield Park, removing litter and a huge amount of bramble. We are creating a tranquil walk-through picnic and garden area, leading on to a wild flower meadow, and woodland edge, via eco-paths made from wood chips and logs. There is a mix of perennial plants, flowers, wild flowers, herbs and trees to make sure there is lots of pollen for each season in this area of the park.
This is a place that Bees will grow to love and come back to year after year. It is a safe green space, for educating and inspiring people about the beauty of wildflowers and wild spaces. The walk through Meadow and woodland bank and picnic area along Marla’s highway leads to an area for non-native flower beds on different levels. We now have 6 raised beds, containing garden flowers, herbs and vegetables, all which flower and attract bees and other pollinators. Our picnic area, is still awaiting a picnic bench, but already has a dog and child friendly pond, so the splashing can happen whilst preserving our other ponds for wildlife.
Around the corner alongside Ellis Avenue we are making 3 wildlife ponds running down the gradient, hopefully soon to be rich in water loving plants and wild life. Ponds are important in order to help as many different species of bee as possible and make best use of the different surrounding habitats.
Already, we have managed to complete multiple eco pathways, with dead hedge borders, and woodpiles, made from trimmed branches, and clearing overgrown brambles and other invasive non-natives. The cleared areas are being weeded, planted and sown to create meadows. The woodland edge area, next to Chokey’s Path has been named ‘Forget-me-not Wood’, dedicated to all those lost to us during this strange time of Pandemic.
In the future we will complete the meadows, and woodland edge areas, make hedges and renew the paths by scraping off the old woodchip for use as compost for the woodland banks, and then spreading fresh.
How does all this help Bees?
Without Bees there would be no flowers as we know them, as the two evolved together… Let that sink in. So we need as many flowers (single not double) as we can encourage in gardens and wild green spaces, and we need flowers throughout the year, and we need flowers that Bees like!
Bees are killed by chemicals… Modern farming is destroying our pollinators, so urban organic green spaces may save Bees from extinction.
There are many species of wild Bee that are adapted to different habitats, and some associate with particular wild flowers, so we need to maximise the biodiversity of our Sanctuary, and plan to encourage wildflower species that we know will increase the biodiversity of bee species that find sanctuary here.
The Bee Sanctuary is very important to a lot of people especially during lockdown, and we understand that people won’t fight to save nature unless they experience it, develop loyalty to our native wild spaces, and gain the knowledge of what they can do to help save our collapsing nature. We want this to be a start of many more Bee Sanctuarys. People can save bees if they become wildlife gardeners.
The old duck pond beside Highfield farm, now at the centre of Highfields Nature Reserve, is a project born out of, and supported by the Bee Sanctuary Movement. It has been renamed Bluebell pond and is led by Francis, and has a growing band of volunteer supporters. From a pond filled with litter and logs it is becoming a wildlife haven.
Lock Down Bee Sanctuary Gardens
During Lockdown we encouraged our volunteers to create Bee Sanctuaries in their gardens. Much enthusiasm, and effort has gone into this, and you can view photos in our gallery. Some gardens were made from scratch. Others are using ideas from the Bee Sanctuary to enhance their Bee Friendliness. A mix of non-native and native flowers are great for Bees, and can extend the season of flowering, so our gardens are a vital resource for bees and other insects.
One garden in particular has become an important project for us, as an Education and Research Station It is the garden of our bee, wasp and insect researcher, Karen M. Karen is Manchester’s leading Bee Wasp and Ant Recorder. She has been a great help to us with our project, through monitoring insect activity, giving advice and inspiration to volunteers also through providing our Bee Talks. Karen was already making important finds in her small front garden, but her back garden had become another huge bramble mono culture over the years. With the help of Robin the space has been cleared, dug over, Eco paths created, and pond dug. There are many other ideas to help Bees and Wasps and other wildlife being researched and planned. Our Aim? To create a site for Karen’s special scientific interests, and to educate and inspire others. Karen is looking forward to welcoming interested visitors.
Chapel Street Park – Bee Sanctuary Children’s Allotments and Forest School
We are currently looking to start work on creating a ‘Bee Sanctuary ‘No Dig’ Children’s Allotments’ within Chapel Street Park enclosed area, site of an old bowling green. Also to rewild areas of the park and to create a ‘Forest School’ site. The project is supported by Mark from the Bluebell Inn, and has the interest of an allotments group, and the Park Ranger. We would like to see Chapel Street Park become a Hub for Children’s education and fun, as it is set right in the middle of Levenshulme, and is suffering badly from litter, and feels in need of TLC. At the moment there is no ‘Friends Group’ to support the park, and we are actively seeking to set one up.
If you are interested in helping us get started on this project please get In touch.