Beez abuzzin in Dorset Dorset’s heritage Bere Marsh Farm is set to become the centrepiece of a groundbreaking new project which aims to make the Blackmore Vale a hive of activity for bees and bee enthusiasts. Gardening clubs, schools, parish councils, allotment holders, indeed any organisation or group, will be invited to participate in the creation throughout the area of a flower shaped network of bee friendly corridors -- known as ‘BeeWayzz.’ The corridors, roughly in the shape of flower petals, will radiate from the Bere Marsh central hub at Shillingstone to follow little used country lanes, bridleways, public footpaths and ancient droves so that the local bee populations are given a better chance to expand and re-populate parts of the countryside from which they have been driven out in recent years whilst growing healthier and stronger in the process. ‘It is such an original and appealing idea that we feel sure it will capture the imagination of everyone. Bees are beloved by us all and, quite literally, are fundamental to the very future of mankind. Without them we would not get the food we eat,’ explains Elaine Spencer White, secretary to the BeeWayzz Hub. The plan will start with a corridor from Shillingstone to Durweston and Hanford to Turnworth. This will then be the blueprint to replicate four more corridors over the following four years all radiating from the central hub of Bere Marsh Farm. Key to its success is the extensive planting along the corridors of annual and perennial plants and flowers which will deliver substantial and consistent supplies of pollen and nectar for the roaming bees all summer long. Leading bee expert and author, Prof Dave Goulson, of the University of Sussex, is one of the project’s key supporters. ‘Our wild pollinators desperately need more flower-rich habitat,’ he points out. ‘This is a wonderfully innovative project which, literally, gets to the root of helping pollinator populations. I hope it captures the imaginations of everyone in North Dorset because it deserves to spread out far and wide. There is nobody who cannot do their bit in helping create these vital BeeWayzz foraging corridors. They are such a simple but clever idea.’ Elaine Spencer White echoes his belief. ‘We hope everyone will want to play their part – people’s gardens and village allotments are every bit as important as field margins and roadside verges for the bees to adopt as foraging corridors,’ she explains. To enlist such support BeeWayzz Hub volunteers will embark this Autumn on a roadshow of talks, seminars and presentations to the widest possible audience throughout Blackmore Vale -- farmers’ groups, garden clubs, allotment organisations, parish and local councils, schools, church organisations and WI groups are just some that they are targeting. In addition, the Hub is also promoting greater interest in the little known art of natural beekeeping – maintaining hives but leaving the honey for the bees themselves so that they grow healthier and stronger and thereby arresting declining populations amongst the various species. ‘We want to encourage greater interest in nurturing bees rather than taking their honey. To do this we have a five year plan to train people in the skills of building the right kind of hives, known as Top-bar hives, and then passing on these skills to others,’ points out Ms Spencer White ‘Natural beekeeping is an ancient craft which has almost died out and we are intent on reviving it,’ she adds. In time, it is hoped that the pollen rich corridors will not be confined to simply North Dorset and the Blackmore Vale. If BeeWayzz really takes off the group has plans to take it into the rest of the county and even beyond that. ‘We see this as a project which hopefully will capture the imagination and active support of thousands. Its so simple and yet can achieve so much to reverse the fortunes of the creatures which are so crucial to our very environment – after all, its success is for our own good.’ If you would like to register to be involved in this local project, please email the secretary.