Kenilworth is one of only six places in the country to be officially named as a ‘Bee Friendly Town’

Kenilworth is one of only six places in the country to be officially named as a ‘Bee Friendly Town’, thanks to the efforts of a community group.

Pictured on a bee friendly site in School Lane, Kenilworth from left to right Jon Holmes (WDC), Cllr Alan Rhead (WDC), Jo Harper (BFK), Diana Harris (BFK), Fern Arnold (BFK), Cllr James Kennedy (KTC), Cllr Alix Dearing (KTC). Photo supplied
Pictured on a bee friendly site in School Lane, Kenilworth from left to right Jon Holmes (WDC), Cllr Alan Rhead (WDC), Jo Harper (BFK), Diana Harris (BFK), Fern Arnold (BFK), Cllr James Kennedy (KTC), Cllr Alix Dearing (KTC). Photo supplied

The title of ‘Bee Friendly Town’ is awarded by the Bee Friendly Trust to groups and communities that have implemented initiatives to protect and promote pollinators.

‘Bee Friendly Kenilworth’ was formed by residents Fern Arnold, Jo Harper and councillors Alix Dearing and James Kennedy in an attempt to address the significant decline in pollinator numbers, due to loss of habitats for foraging, nesting and breeding and use of pesticides.

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Over the past two years the group has been working with volunteers, schools and the community on schemes to promote the growth of wildflowers in green spaces, parks and private gardens.

Jo Harper, from Bee Friendly Kenilworth, said: “One of our main aims has been to encourage residents to leave wild areas in their own gardens and to reduce their use of toxic pesticides.

"While many people may appreciate the appearance of a closely-mown ‘Wimbledon’ lawn, they may not realise that this removes all sources of food for pollinators. It is like going to a supermarket with empty shelves.

"Bumblebees need to feed at least every 40 minutes, which is why having more, connected gardens, planters, window boxes full of pollen-/nectar-rich flowers is essential.”

The project has been supported by Warwick District Council’s Green Spaces Team who have been trialling areas of reduced mowing in the Park Hill area of Kenilworth. This allows wildflowers to grow that are in the natural seedbank, with other appropriate seeds being added over time.

Cllr Alan Rhead, portfolio holder for environment and neighbourhood services, said: “We’ve been delighted to work alongside Bee Friendly Kenilworth on a number of sites in the town, where we have been taking measures to encourage pollinators, through careful planting and also a reduction in mowing during the spring and summer.

"This has also been replicated across the district with areas of our parks and green spaces, which would have once just been grass now full of beautiful and nectar rich flowers.

"This is just one of many actions where the district council is encouraging our residents to join in helping our Climate Change Action plan.

"I am thrilled that this Kenilworth Group is sharing their experience with other areas, helping to launch a district wide campaign which can help to improve the conditions for the bee population.”

Bee Friendly Kenilworth’s bid for the award was also supported by Kenilworth Town Council’s Climate Roadmap Group and other groups who are working to help local biodiversity, such as the volunteer gardeners in Talisman Square, who have been brightening up the town with flower displays and have also placed knitted bees in the trees.

Since receiving the award, BFK has received interest from other towns and villages across the district including Warwick, Leamington and Cubbington and has been assisting them in setting up their own Bee Friendly towns.

Visitors to the Kenilworth Lion’s Grand Show at Abbey Fields on June 11 can find out more about the project by visiting the Town Council’s Climate Roadmap stand.