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Bugs and Bees Project

The Council is committed to supporting food and shelter for animals, bees and other insects and has launched the Bugs and Bees project to further enhance Bedford’s Parks and Open Spaces, and to provide more sustainable natural environments.

Following our press release in June 2020, we received a huge response from borough residents suggesting locations where people would like to see more wildlife friendly maintenance regimes implemented. All of these suggestions have been reviewed, and we are now working to trial some changes to our maintenance regimes as detailed below.

All of these areas will only be mowed once per year going forward, which is in line with the management of meadow areas.

Reduced grass cutting

We have identified four areas where grass is going to be allowed to grow long. Creating wildflower meadows in this way allows local native species to bloom, which provides the best pollen and nectar sources for Bedford’s pollinators. The locations where this change in maintenance is going to be implemented are:

  • Jubilee Park (beneath trees in the middle of the park)
  • Brickhill Drive Open Space (beside the entrance to Brickhill Allotments)
  • Kempston Riverside Path (at the end of Mill Lane only)
  • Longholme Way (near Cardington Road)

Native wildflower perennial meadows

Three locations for the sowing of native perennial meadows have been identified by the Council. The wildflower mix being used consists of native species which support our local pollinator’s. This mix will take at least two years to fully establish (and may appear unsightly in the first year of establishment); however they will continue to develop into an important source of nectar and pollen.

To help with the appearance of the native perennial mix in its first year, a nursery crop of annuals will be sown at the same time. This will provide an initial burst of colourful flowers for the first year only, by which time the perennial mix will the start to flower.

The three locations where this mix will be sown are:

  • Woodlands Country Park
  • Great Denham (in the fenced area at the end of Greenkeeper’s Road)
  • Addison Howard Park (around the pond area to the north of the park)

Floral wildflower perennial meadows

Floral wildflower meadows tend to have less native plant species within the mixes, but do provide colourful displays of flowers. As with the native perennial mix above, the initial year after sowing will look disappointing as all perennial mixes take at least two years to fully establish, but these will mature over time to produce a carpet of floral colour.

These locations have been funded by the Council’s Ward Members Fund, and in conjunction with Stewartby and Kempston Hardwick Parish Council (for Kempston Hardwick and Stewartby locations only).

The locations where this mix will be sown are as below.

  • Abbey Fields Public Open Space (eastern section)
  • Kempston Hardwick Roundabout
  • Stewartby Village Green (south eastern section)

Floral annual meadow

As above floral annual meadows tend to have less native plant species within the mixes, but do provide very colourful floral displays, whilst producing pollen and nectar sources. As the name would suggest these mixes are annuals and will only flower for one year, before needing to be re-sown. However, they will create a stunning display straightaway, throughout the summer months.

The location where this is being sown in Spring 2021 is in part of the Time Garden in Russell Park, and has been funded by the Council’s Ward Members Fund.

These areas and maintenance regimes will be regularly reviewed to see how they are progressing, and if trials are successful then additional areas will be added – so keep an eye on this webpage!

If you would like further information about this project then please email bugsandbees@bedford.gov.uk