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Monday, December 21, 2009

Wed 23rd Sept 2009 - Haytesbury Pumping Station, Parkhurst.

This was our first visit for some years to Haytesbury Pumping Station along Forest Road near Newport, with an excellent turnout on what proved to be a very warm day. Mark at the Kitbridge Trust, who own some of the land we were working on, had organised a very long list of tasks for us. These were making a bonfire of scrub which had already been cleared, putting in lots of plants, building a fence and clearing a very thick area of scrub along the boundary line some three metres back, to enable access for the tractor. The work is intended to improve the area for bees, as part of “The Big Buzz” campaign set up by Kew Gardens and Jordans, and also involving Blue Peter. This area was also the site of a huge muster of 10,00 troops in 1748 (due to fears of a Napoleonic invasion), and the stream close to where we were working had two dams made some 100 yards apart, where the cavalry used to wash their horses (military history information provided by Mark from the Kitbridge Trust - thanks Mark).


Their habitats are now in serious decline, due to the spread of diseases and the loss of habitat. The UK has 250 species of bee including the honey bee, 25 species of bumblebee and many solitary bee species. Sadly three species of bumblebee have already become extinct, with many more in rapid decline. Only six species are now common and widespread, as a lot of their natural habitats are being destroyed. Bees are a keystone species for conservation, which means they have a disproportionate effect on their environment compared to their numbers, because they pollinate the majority of our plants to help them reproduce. If plants cannot reproduce they may become extinct, and this could have a devastating impact on the whole ecosystem. Einstein is supposed to have said “if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left” but there is no doubting the horrifying facts. The Honey Bee, which performs a crucial role in the farming process is headed towards extinction. No bees, no food. Bees need everyone’s help.

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