Bumble Bees attracted to Stonebridge Meadow by a rare feast of Snake's Head Fritillary
Stonebridge Wild River Reserve has many Snake’s Head Fritillary flowers in bloom. According to the Wildlife Trusts the flower is vulnerable and on the red data list. It is thanks to a community planting project that so many of these delicate flowers can now be seen in the reserve.
Last autumn Action for the River Kennet (ARK), joint owners of Stonebridge Meadow with Marlborough Town Council, organised the planting of four thousand Snakes’s Head Fritillary plants in the water meadow. The event attracted members of the community of all ages.
Their efforts have paid off as the east conservation grazing area within the water meadow now has many of these delicate chequered purple flowers in bloom. And the flowers are attracting new visitors - bumble bees.
Ark Project Officer, Anna Forbes said, “To see so many in bloom during the first year is amazing, I am hoping we can raise funding to run another bulb planting afternoon this autumn and expand on this initial success.”
"We now have eleven species of bumblebee at Stonebridge, fifteen species of butterfly and over three hundred species of moth recorded. The addition of the fritillaries are another nectar source for these important pollinators, as well as being attractive to visitors."
Following their inaugural Bee Roadzz Week, Marlborough Downs Space for Nature (MDSfN) and Transition Marlborough will also continue to highlight the importance of bees and pollinators, and how to provide habitat for them in gardens and outdoor spaces.
Dr. Jemma Batten, project manager of MDSfN and Bee Roadzz said;
“We are asking everyone who lives or works along the Bee Roadzz to plant ‘Bee Friendly’ gardens, hanging baskets and pots, creating ‘service stations’ where pollinators can feed. We need to be able to show that the insect highways are valuable to pollinators, so we are looking to use citizen science by getting people to do their own monthly pollinator count.”
“Both planting and the count are lots of fun, and anyone can have a go, you don’t need any special skills; just visit our website for more information on bee friendly plants and a guide on how to do the count”. www.spacefornature.net/bee-roadzz
The next Marlborough Downs; A Space for Nature event, where there will be a focus on pollinators, is Open Farm Sunday at Temple Farm, Rockley on Sunday 10 June, where all are welcome.