For Tuesday’s activity, staff ventured up the garden to check out the FPCR bees currently residing in the hives within the grounds at Lockington Hall. The bees have been located at the hall since 2015 and are routinely checked by staff members from the ecology, graphics and landscape teams. The hives were opened and the bees were active although the recent cold weather has meant that they are still quite dormant. There was however an opportunity for Henry to demonstrate his best ‘waggle dance’ though!
Why does FPCR have bees you ask?
There has been an overall decline in wild and honey bees over the past 50 years and it is a species we feel we need to protect. Bees pollinate a third of everything we eat as well as making an invaluable contribution to our eco systems around the world. Seeds, fruits and berries eaten by birds and small mammals are all from plants that bees pollinate, making them guardians of the food chain. There is a quote unapprovingly attributed to Albert Einstein that states ‘If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years left to live’ – and that’s good enough reason for us.
Our ecology and landscape teams often work together to ensure that development proposals include suitable habitat for bees and other insects as shown in the following case studies:
- Warth Park country park, Raunds
- Blythe Valley
- The Bridge, Dartford
- Dartford Park
- Sand Martins, Ryton Pools
Note: The yellow hexagon depicts the queen of the colony
At our Exeter Office:
At our South West office based at Exeter, the FPCR team of Ecologists, Landscape Architects, and Arboriculturalists took a break during a rather soggy lunchtime to plant 3 orchard trees in the grounds.
Traditional orchards form a distinctive feature of the South West landscape character, but it has been estimated that up to 90% of traditional orchards have been lost since the 1950’s. Traditional orchards also provide good foraging opportunities for the locally common but nationally rare greater horseshoe bats as they can take insect prey from the canopy and the grassland below, with the trees providing navigational points for the greater horseshoes highly directional call, allowing them to forage in larger areas of grassland.
These tasty trees are of local provenance and we look forward to seeing them establish and bear fruit. When these trees mature, tree hollows may be used by roosting bats or nesting birds.
Community orchards have been successfully established within our residential schemes throughout the South West: