Pupils dig in to help wildflower project

Wildflower planting near Clipstone Brook.
Wildflower planting near Clipstone Brook.

Pupils joined residents for a community planting session in Leighton Buzzard to help bees.

As the Great British Bee Count is taking place, an area by Clipstone Brook, between Woodman Close and Hockcliffe Road, has been replanted in a project with South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth, UK Power Networks, St George’s Lower School and residents.

The piece of land was replanted on Wednesday, May 18, after it had to be dug up in April for work to mend a faulty underground cable, carried out by UK Power Networks.

The land has been disturbed in the past after being planted, by mowing and travellers tethering horses on the site.

UK Power Networks bought the plants and helped to prepare the area. Pupils from St George’s Lower school, who are actively creating bee habitats on their own school grounds, also helped with the planting.

A spokesman for UK Power Networks said: “UK Power Networks is keen to help local communities and in this case is very happy to have been able to support South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth and nearby residents by ensuring the wildflower area in Hockliffe Road is replanted for all to enjoy in the future.”

Peter Hanley, a resident of Woodman Close, said: “I remember great times as a child in the 1940s walking round the lanes, seeing the profusion wild flowers that are rarely seen today, such as cornflowers, bee orchids and violets. Helping to recreate some of those scenes near my home has been enormously satisfying and I hope more such areas can be set up in the future. Walking past them daily will be a treat. Despite some setbacks, it has been enormously satisfying. I look forward to seeing the results, and hope that such areas can be spread around the town.”

Victoria Harvey, from South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth, said: “It is fantastic that UK Power Networks turned a real disappointment into a really positive story. The support of residents such as Peter Hanley and the practical proactive community orientated approach of St George’s Lower School, along with the support of Paul Burgess of Central Bedfordshire Council and our MP Andrew Selous are crucial for restoring our bee and butterfly populations.”

St George’s Lower School pupils have been busy supporting a government strategy to help pollinators by planting wildflowers, shrubs and leaving areas of long grass. They have worked with South Bedfordshire Friends of the Earth and the Young Explorers to create a butterfly garden, wild flower areas, an orchard, native shrubs and long grass which is crucial for butterflies.

South Bedfordshire FOE campaign, Keep the Buzz in Leighton Buzzard, has become a national case study and there are now 17 bee friendly habitats in the area.

The Big Bee count runs until June 30. Visit https://www.foe.co.uk/page/join-great-british-bee-count-today