Chipping Norton Bumblebee Project

Community case studies


The continuing decline in bumblebee species and populations is well documented. There are 25 species of bumblebees in the UK and some, such as the great yellow bumblebee Bombus distinguendus, survive only in small numbers. In Oxfordshire up to 8 species may be regularly seen over the summer months including white tailed Bombus lucorum, common carder Bombus pascuorum and red tailed Bombus lapidarius bumblebees. Many bumblebees are attracted to urban habitats including gardens and other green spaces. Last autumn a bumblebee project was initiated in Chipping Norton and Butterfly Conservation helped out with advice, talks and training.

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Chipping Norton Bumblebee Project

A local group identified several potential sites including Chipping Norton School, the cemetery, a garden centre and the recently opened health centre. The aim was to ‘improve’ these areas by establishing wildflower grasslands and ‘bee-friendly’ herbaceous borders.

A range of plants, such as Pulmonaria and hyssop, were chosen for the health centre. These were planted in a bed at the front of the building - to be seen and enjoyed by people attending the clinic. Chipping Norton Green Gym undertook all the preparation and planting. Hopefully, the addition of an interpretative board and the offer of leaflets should encourage people to incorporate some of these plants into their own gardens. Initially, funding was sought from local businesses but without much success. Fortunately, TOE2 and Save our Magnificent Meadows project were able to supplement a donation from the health centre.

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