Chirk Castle celebrated being the first National Trust site to be accredited as bee-friendly under a new Welsh Government scheme, by welcoming Hannah Blythyn, Welsh Minister for the Environment to the castle to talk all things bees, wildflowers and better estate management for nature.
Hannah met General Manager Shane Logan, Ranger Keith Griffith, and estate beekeeper John Beavan to discuss the ways that the Chirk team manage the estate to promote wildlife diversity and protect and restore habitat for vital pollinators; important work with vast areas of traditional wildflower meadow across the UK having been lost over the past 50 years.
Hannah and the team were able to visit the picturesque site of John’s hives on the estate, and find out more about what makes it such a great location for bees to thrive.
John Beavan, local Chirk resident and estate beekeeper said:
“the main reason I wanted to keep bees on the Chirk Castle estate is the way that it is managed for nature, with a good abundance of traditional British honey-producing plants, such as rose bay willow herb, established lime trees, brambles and clover. I also enjoy the chance to engage with visitors and the local community and share my love of beekeeping”.
Hannah was also able to take a look at two areas of wildflower meadow which are at the start of a long-term restoration project being supported by National Trust visitors and members, and through on-site raffle ticket sales. This meadow restoration project is in its second full year, and is ahead of schedule with some interesting species of wildflower starting to appear.
Hannah said, “I’d like to congratulate Chirk Castle on becoming the first National Trust property to achieve Bee-Friendly status. I’ve been really impressed by the work at the castle to support pollinators, which are vital to our ecosystem.
Our Bee-Friendly campaign in Wales is the first national scheme of its kind in the UK. The scheme aims to reverse the decline in our pollinators, which is a threat to our ability to produce vital resources such as food, timber and fibre.
I hope even more people are inspired by Chirk Castle, so we have even more Bee-Friendly communities and organisations here in Wales.”
To find out more about John’s bees, look out on the Chirk Castle website for bee themed activities, or if you want to learn more about the estate the Ranger team have regular themed walks.