Wildflower meadows need a bit of TLC

We manage several bee friendly meadows around Penistone – The park on Thurlstone Road beside the Leisure Centre, the area in front of Thurlstone Church and parts of Penistone cemetery. It will soon be the time of year for pulling docks, to allow more delicate wildflowers space and light to grow. Get in touch with Rachel at info@penistonefoe.org.uk if you can help.

Hogwatch 2015

BBT hedgehog RApologies for the lack of posts on our website lately. We’ve not been idle, we’ve just been busy over on our Hogwatch website. Hogwatch is the campaign we launched in September 2014, to survey the local hedgehog population, and ultimately to help hedgehogs in the area. We have now relaunched for 2015, and have had several sightings already. For all the news on Hogwatch and to sign up as a watcher, please go to the Hogwatch website.

The Hedgehog project – Penistone Gala

Hi everyone who is looking at this after seeing us at Penistone Gala today. We are still pre-launch for the project, so we were just getting a feel from people about how common hedgehogs are in the area. Those who were interested in being part of the survey put their email addresses on a spike and stuck them on our hedgehog. We will be emailing everyone once we get the survey up and running.

In the meantime, if you spot a hedgehog please email us at penistonefoe@hotmail.co.uk. It would be very helpful to know

  • when you saw it
  • where (postcode, grid reference or describe where you were)
  • what it was doing (feeding, running, nesting)
  • what was the habitat like (garden, field edge, woodland, hedgerow)

Even if it wasn’t a recent sighting all information is useful. It is useful to know where there were hedgehogs a few years ago – but aren’t now. And also if you have seen one where you have not seen one before.

Bee Walk

Please come along to our Bee Walk on Sunday 11th May. We are meeting at Penistone Skate Park at 2pm and will do a circular walk through some beautiful areas of Penistone which are good for bees. Adults and children welcome, flower hunt sheets available and we will try to identify the bees we see along the route. The walk will be at a gentle pace and is less than 2 miles. Contact Rachel for more info on 762670, Pete on 790713 or penistonefoe@hotmail.co.uk

Bees need better protection

Bumblebee on a sweet pea flower

Bumblebee on a sweet pea flower

Penistone Friends of the Earth have told the  government  that their  Pollinator Strategy for England needs strengthening. The group has been working to improve the Penistone area for bees and other wildlife over the past few years and feel that the government should be doing their bit too.

In the Response by Penistone Friends of the Earth to the National Pollinator Strategy Consultation, the group warmly welcomed it, but argued that the strategy could be improved. They think that the report is right to state the importance of bees in pollinating plants and so providing food for people. However, they believe that bees should not only be looked after because they help people, but that nature has a huge value of its own. Bees are not only important for people’s food, but also are a vital part of the food chain for other wildlife including birds, insects and mammals.

Penistone Friends of the Earth have also said that the government should be aiming for much higher numbers of bees than they are – bees have been in decline since World War II. There should be better pesticide testing and more help for farmers and gardeners to create bee-friendly areas.

In the past two years, Friends of the Earth have worked with local communities to create new wildflower areas for bees, butterflies and other insects. Recently the group created a new area of bluebells in Penistone Cemetery by transplanting bulbs from mown areas. In 2013, two new meadows were established in Thurlstone Road Park in collaboration with Barnsley MBC and a third at St Saviour’s Church in Thurlstone.  In addition, wildflowers have been planted in Oxspring, Green Moor and Thurlstone. Another recommendation the group made to the government is that help should be provided to local councils on managing verges, parks and cemetaries. This would mean more wildflower areas like the ones in Penistone, around the country.

Pete Riley from Penistone Friends of the Earth commented:

“The Government’s pollinator strategy is a very positive step towards ensuring that insect pollinators can survive and flourish. However, it needs to be strengthened to ensure that bee numbers increase and survive  through the creation of wildflower areas and protection from toxic chemicals , parasites and disease. Education and investment is needed so that towns and the countryside become more pollinator friendly”.

The group will be holding their second “Bee Safari” starting from the skateboard ramps on the  Show Ground by Trans Pennine Trail on Sunday  11th May at 2pm. The walk will take a couple of hours and end back at the skatepark.

Response by Penistone Friends of the Earth to the National Pollinator Strategy Consultation