Part of the Buzzing Stations project coordinated by the High Peak and Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership (CRP), the safari’s main aim is to raise awareness of the environmental value of station gardens and planters for bumblebees. With 97% of wild meadows lost in recent years, small, connected areas offer bumblebees the chance to continue pollinating flowers, which is vital for food production.
On Friday 19 August, around a dozen children and their families were welcomed by Joy Hallsworth of FoHS and Neil Williams of FoGS. Joy led a tour of the platform planters and garden at Hadfield Station, emphasising the plants that are there specifically to attract bumblebees. The planter receiving the most attention was the most recently installed – it was created by two local children, Riordan and Finnan, whose enthusiasm for conservation last year led to the special hexagonal planter being created. The two boys now regularly work alongside FoHS to maintain the planters.
The group then set off on a walk to nearby Bankswood Park to see the wildflower meadow below the new cycle track. The focal point of this part of the safari was the newly installed ‘Bee Alive’ bench created by Glossop Arts Project, which provides visitors with somewhere to sit and enjoy the local wildlife. Here, members of the group took part in various discussions and activities: Evora read out some facts about bees, Maisie performed a bee-inspired poem, and Natalie demonstrated how bumblebees land and take up pollen. The group then made their way through the park and back to the station, where the group could catch their connecting trains home – and, of course, look for bumblebees en route.
Joy Hallsworth (FoHS) and Neil Williams (FoGS) said of the event: “We would like to thank everyone, especially the parents who supported this outing, and Becky Styles, Community and Sustainability Manager at Northern, for permission to meet and host this event at the station.
“We also want to say a big thank you to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, for all their information and support.”
A new publication entitled Walking with Bumblebees in and around Derbyshire is now available from local Tourist Outlets or direct from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. The guide highlights nine local walks with lots of well-explained information, including how to spot the area’s rare, iconic bee – the bilberry bumblebee.
Other Buzzing Stations bumblebee safaris and walks around the High Peak area are also available, including self-guided ones at Buxton and Chapel-en-le-Frith.