05:31PM, Monday 30 May 2022
Marlow has become England's first 'bee town' following work by campaigners to help the 'crucial' insects thrive.
Over the past few years, nature group Wild Marlow has been working on a campaign to make the town bee-friendly, while a dedicated bee festival is planned for Higginson Park this weekend.
Events including bumblebee walks, beekeeping demonstrations and talks have been ongoing since 2020, and the Wild Marlow team have also been engaging with schools and businesses about the importance of the creatures.
Another important element of the campaign was Marlow Town Council's new pollinator policy for the town, which is being actioned.
The policy includes new pollinator-friendly revised grass cutting regimes and wildflower plantings in green spaces and road verges around the town, and a ban on the use of toxic weed killers.
“We’re delighted to announce that Marlow is England’s first Bee Town,” Verity West of Wild Marlow said.
“We’ve been working really hard to ensure that these vital creatures are supported and celebrated here in Marlow, and we’re hoping that everyone appreciates them in public spaces and in their gardens.
"We’re continuing our campaign, developing many more initiatives to underpin our credentials as a Bee Town. This is a long-term plan which is good for our town and good for our environment.
“Bees are crucial to the survival of the planet. By supporting them, we can make a real difference to the environment, now and in the future.”
The bee festival, which will run on Saturday, aims to celebrate bees and other pollinators, with a number of organisations present to signpost visitors to more information about their role in the natural world.
TV nature presenter Steve Backshall, who lives nearby to Marlow, added: “To everyone at Wild Marlow, what you’re doing to make Marlow the first Bee Town [in England] – that is absolutely right up my street.
"The idea that we’re becoming more friendly to pollinators and our native bugs is music to my ears."
Wild Marlow has introduced a 'Bee Town' logo to highlight its activities in the town, as well as signs at the town’s wildflower areas which offer more information on the importance of bees and pollinators.
Jocelyn Towns, Marlow Town Council's deputy mayor, said: “Feedback from residents, particularly regarding the beautiful wildflower areas around the town, has been very positive, and we’re delighted to commit our support to this campaign."