31 August, 2023

Foreness Point plays host to buzzing bumblebee and biodiversity sessions

Local residents got the chance to boost their knowledge of biodiversity and wild bees at Foreness Point, an 18 acre area of chalk grassland in Margate, this August. 

The council’s Climate Change team hosted the two interactive sessions in partnership with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, at the Margate location, with a focus on biodiversity and bees. Attended by community group representatives, local residents and ward councillors, the free events provided an opportunity for people to engage with nature and expand their understanding of local wildlife.

The biodiversity walk on Thursday 10 August, led by the council’s Climate Change team, featured a tour of Foreness Point. The 18-acre area of chalk grassland is being restored to create a wildflower rich habitat for pollinators, birds and other wildlife. It was designated a Local Wildlife Site in 2009 and was part of a biodiversity project called Making a Buzz for the Coast, in collaboration with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust between 2017 and 2021. 

There was a talk on the history of Foreness Point from The Thanet Coast Project. The council’s Tree and Biodiversity Coordinator then spoke about plans for the site. The aim is to further increase biodiversity for wildlife and local people to enjoy. 

The council’s Climate Change Officer ran an activity on the Take the Jump Campaign, and provided inspirational ideas to help people reduce their carbon footprint.

Cllr Rob Yates, Cabinet Member for Climate Change said:

“Wildflower meadows and grassland such as Foreness Point provide shelter and food for important pollinators including bees. A key priority for this site is to increase the abundance of wildflowers, and to create a variety of different habitats in order to support local wildlife.

“This includes swathes of wildflowers which are beautiful to the eye, as well as a tapestry of varied habitat such as scrub and brambles, tall shrubs and plants which all provide perfect nesting areas for solitary bees and migratory birds.

“The north Kent coast is also recognised nationally for its diversity of bumblebee species. It supports at least 20 of the 24 UK species, including five of the seven nationally rare and scarce bumblebees. I was surprised by just how many different types of bees there were in this grassland, it was beautiful to see. 

“Events such as these provide a fantastic opportunity for us to learn more about the natural world and gain a deeper understanding of how we can all contribute to its protection.”

The second walk took place on Thursday 16 August. Coordinated by the council and led by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, it gave residents the opportunity to assist in conducting a bee survey, using nets and pots to capture and observe the bees without harming them. 

Five different species of bees were found in 90 minutes, including the Red-shanked carder bumblebee, one of Kent’s rare species. Other vital pollinating insects were also recorded including several solitary bees such as the Green-eyed flower bee, and Bee wolf. Species of moths and butterflies were also found.

Emma Lansdell, of Bumblebee Conservation Trust who works for Kent County Council as Kent’s Plan Bee Officer said:

“The diversity and wildlife importance of the grassland and scrub habitats of Foreness Point benefit from the management carried out by Thanet District Council, with help from local volunteers. It is a beautiful and valuable site for biodiversity and pollinators.

“In the short time we had to survey the area at the event, through the enthusiasm of the local people attending, its value was demonstrated by the range and numbers of bumblebees and other insects recorded. Foreness Point is vital for providing a well-managed and flower-rich sanctuary and stepping-stone, connecting with other important locations along the north Kent coast – one of the UK’s hotspots for bumblebees.

“The conservation and careful management of places such as Foreness Point is critical for the future of essential pollinators – so that their populations don’t just survive but thrive.”

For more information about bees please visit www.bumblebeeconservation.org and for local bee events visit Kent’s Plan Bee Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KentsPlanBee

In order to help residents stay up-to-date with future Thanet District Council environmental and climate change activities, there is now a mailing list – you can sign up here.

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