Cumbria parks in harmony to give bees a chance

Michael Holgate and marketing assistant Ellen Cartwright with some of the bee-friendly seeds being sown

Michael Holgate and marketing assistant Ellen Cartwright with some of the bee-friendly seeds being sown

Honey bee numbers are set to blossom on a group of Cumbria holiday parks this year, thanks to an ambitious plan to introduce thousands of their favourite flowers.

Hoping to create the buzz is Silverdale Holiday Park and its five sister-parks, all of which have won the backing of botanist David Bellamy for the project.

It will see over one million wildflower seeds sown, and the planting of hundreds of bee-friendly shrubs, in order to provide a lifeline for the beleaguered insects.

The plants have all be chosen for their high nectar-bearing blooms on which honey bees forage.

According to parks owner Michael Holgate, honey bee numbers have declined dramatically in recent years with experts blaming the increasing scarcity of food resources:

“Our parks are ideal sanctuaries for honey bees as we use hardly any of the agricultural chemicals on our land which can devastate wild flowers,” he said.

Honey bees are finding a safe haven at Holgates' parks

Honey bees are finding a safe haven at Holgates’ parks

“Butterflies and other pollinators will also benefit from our seedings and plantings, and we’ve included many species which provide valuable nectar in the spring and autumn.

“We intend to create interpreted walks around our parks’ bee-friendly meadows and other areas which will explain to guests why foraging is so important.

“Our hope is that many holidaymakers will use the knowledge to make their own gardens more welcoming to honey bees and other pollinating insects,” added Michael.

The project has received the blessing of the David Bellamy Conservation Scheme which has launched a national awareness campaign in conjunction with the British Beekeepers Association.

Its aim is to create a network of bee-friendly tracts of countryside across Britain, and says that the Holgates group of parks will form an important part of the chain in Cumbria.

As well as Silverdale park near Arnside, the project will involve neighbouring Hollins Farm park, Silver Ridge park near Milnthorpe, and Netherbeck park and Bay View park near Carnforth.

The group also works closely with a wide range of bodies such as the RSPB and local red squirrel protection groups to make its parks havens for many protected species.

Michael Holgate, whose family business last year marked its 60th anniversary, said that safeguarding the natural world has long been an important facet of the group’s activities:

“Our conservation work is very much a team effort, and we encourage all our staff to contribute new ideas on how to protect the amazing flora and fauna of our parks,” he said.

There is more information about the group’s parks at www.holgates.co.uk

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