The Wheal Buzzy Project is a unique and innovative project, placing people at the heart of mining (solitary) bee conservation across important mining areas in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
• Solitary Bees are an industrious species when it comes to pollination, within Cornwall their presence is restricted to a number of key sites. Bees in general are in startling decline across Cornwall, due to increased pressure including Scrub growth through lack of management
• Over grazing or summer grazing on or near sites and intensive agriculture
• Invasive non-native plants
• Climate change and increased stormy weather
In the UK there are roughly 250 known species of bee, 190 of them solitary bees, we have 120 of them in Cornwall.
Through funding from the AONB partnership and the Heritage lottery fund we are looking to increase awareness and increase habitat for the Duchy’s nationally important miner (solitary) bees.
Our mining heritage (particularly the older sites) is of particular significance, the post-industrial habitats are ideal for a number of solitary bee species and other insects. The disturbed workings have a rich diversity of habitat from the bare grassland through to early successional grassland and heathland found in these disturbed areas. As many mine sites have been excluded from intensive agricultural practise, they have retained their semi-natural diverse flower rich grassland habitat, which are now scarce within an agricultural setting.
The Wheal Buzzy Project has identified a key number of sites within the AONB which are strategically important for solitary bees (mining bees)
• Loe Bar
• Praa Sands to Marazion
• West Penwith - Sennen to St Ives and inland towards Madron and Rosewall Hill
• Portreath/Godrevy Head
• St Agnes
• Stepper Point, Padstow
• Pentire Head/Port Quin
Wheal Buzzy will be actively working with communities on existing and new projects, to support positive action increasing awareness and understanding of pollinator’s, particularly solitary bees. Providing support and resources to do so and further developing the project through a partnership based approach. Through identifying potential areas of land that might be improved to benefit bees, regular Bee healthy walks, with local trained walk leaders, the establishment of a linked group of volunteers to survey key areas for solitary bees increasing county records and developing our understanding of the Cornish Mining (Solitary) Bee population