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Bishop's Castle, Shropshire
Michaelmas Fair


The Bee Hive

The Old Market Square at the top of the town was transformed into a ‘Bee Hive’ for the Fair.

Montgomery Beekeepers Association
ees at work in the glass-sided exhibition observation bee hive and brood box. There was also a very eye-catching free-standing tapestry displaying bee forage plants by season kindly on loan from the Welsh Botanic Gardens

Bees and Beetles
There was Wildlife roleplay. Meeting the pollinators: interviewing a hand-made model of a bee to and see the world from a different perspective

Natural England
Local ecology groups provided a beautiful bee-themed art and crafts

Friends of the Earth ‘Bee Cause’
Friends of the Earth were in the Bee Hive promoting their ‘Bee Cause’ to reverse bee decline in the UK

Why is Bishop’s Castle so concerned about bees?

 Being a rural town, Bishop’s Castle is understandably concerned about protecting bees and boosting their numbers. Someone who knew all about these issues, acted on them, and proved the effectiveness of organic food production over 100 years ago was Sir Albert Howard who was born and brought up on a farm in Bishop’s Castle in the 1870’s.

Albert Howard was a first rate scientist and hands-on agriculturalist, who went on to become one of the most inspirational and influential figures in the organic movement. He was very clear about the importance of working with nature and not against her. Fundamental to all pest control methods and abundant harvests, is the fertility of the soil and rotation of crops planted. Healthy soil produces healthy plants.

Albert demonstrated, in a 30 year study, that healthy plants grown in healthy organic soil have a measurable impact on human health and wellbeing.

Sir Albert’s approach, which involves putting back into the soil the same amount of organic matter taken out, provides a model of sustainable farming which is highly relevant to us today. He made a link between human health and how our food is grown that is only now becoming properly understood and accepted.

We can all play our part in keeping this crucial natural cycle going. We must care about the whole cycle of growing and cropping, including soil health, and the health of pollinators and predators.

Bishop’s Castle Bee Cafés

Bees and other pollinators are really struggling because of the loss of flower-rich grasslands and the use of harmful pesticides.

A Bee Café is a place for bees to feed. It could be a flower pot with lavender in it, a new flower bed to replace lawn or a community flower garden. Bishop’s Castle Town Council in partnership with Shropshire Wildlife Trust has established a number of Bee Cafés outside the Town Hall

What you can do to encourage bees?

Grow organically - not just food crops but flowers and trees. Bees rely heavily on tree pollen and nectar;

Ask your garden centre for plants that have not been pre-treated with pesticides and don’t use pesticides in your garden or allotment;

Encourage wildlife diversity by growing a wide variety of things;

Plant plenty of bee friendly plants such as cotoneaster, borage, oregano/marjoram, sage, mint, rosemary, echiums, hazel, apples, pears and soft fruit, mahonia, ivy, hebes and crocuses … to name a few;

Look after the health of your soil. Use composted organic material regularly to top up soil fertility;

 Shop for organic food whenever you can;

Celebrate the diversity of nature and do your best to protect the natural world.

For more information see:

Friends of the Earth ‘Bee Cause’: www.foe.co.uk/bees

Shropshire Wildlife Trust ‘Bee Cafés’: www.shropshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/beecafe

Montgomery Bee Keepers Association: www.montybees.org.uk/

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