2018/2019 - Completed Projected - Bee Hotel
Two volunteers from the Friends, John Lobley and Simon Wilson designed and built a ''Bee Hotel'' - This was the pinnacle of a wider project the Friends had been working on over a number of years to improving the habitat for pollinators. The project won the prestigious National Award for Bees Needs in 2018/19... see our press release below.....
June 23, 2019
Friends Win National Bees Needs Award!
The Latest Buzz from the Friends !
The Friends are celebrating success in the recent national Bees Needs Awards. There is always a buzzfrom getting awards, and we have been busy bees- in a hiveof activity - for several months to gain this particular one. It really is the ‘bees knees’amongst national awards, and very beecoming for a colonysuch as ours to beehonoured in this way. Of course our Bee Hotel- which beecame a welcoming home for solitary beesin 2015 - played a major part in this endeavour. We have had to avoid many honeytraps and attempts by others to hiveus off in the process. And we have kneededa lot of stamena to create a suitable wildflower food source for pollinatorson the cowfield.
Our Secretary, regarded by some as the committee’s QueenBee, has been buzzing around as usual and even visited Beeston Castle to see if the owners could help us find beeswax and honeycombsto display. Other volunteers have bumbled around on their four wings, beehind and on beehalf of the committee - occasionally finding flowers, fruits and crops to pollinate which they do by rubbing against the stamens whilst gathering the prized nectar. The latter is often called “amber nectar” - or, by Peter Allen, a pint of lager !
Lord Gardiner said the Award beefits an organisation such as ours, and was delighted to beestow the honour upon us. During lunch he beefriended Colin and John and, at his beequest, they gave him the history of the Cowfield and told him of our other achievements and also what issues beedevilled us. Beetween ourselves, the Noble Lord offered some suggestions to take us beeyond our currentbeeorientated plans, and for now we cannot beetray those confidences. It was beewildering to beeat the beeanfeast at Kew Gardens where so many people pursue their beeloved causes for nature, but nobody beelittled our efforts to date. Their experts beeseeched us to continue the good work despite the problems that might beefall us.
We have to remember, however, that there is a sting in the tailin this type of voluntary work: we say to new volunteers “beeware the dangers of combing throughhives”, and always wear appropriate protection. In spite of the hazards, we have beecome a very successful group with the fruits of our labours available for all to beehold. Oh Beehave !!
From Farmer's Cow field to treasured community open Space - 2010 to 2018 -
The Cow Field was transformed by many projects that have been undertaken and over £55,000 has been raised to enable these projects to take place. £25,000 enabled the ''Cheshire meadow'' to be created.
Money from the Lottery paid for new hedges. Local farmers installed new gates. Money raised paid for new fences to replace old and dangerous barbed wire fences.
Neston Town Council (NTC) and CWaC donated money to buy some benches and to source and site our commemorative stone sited at the centre of the site.
Money from NTC and local businesses also enabled us to set up notice boards and construct and maintain access points.
Tesco gave a £2000 donation to provide seating and flower displays.
John Lobley & Chairman of the Friends, Colin Nicol, receiving the award at Kew Gardens
2020 - completed - Wood Lane Hedge Project and Hedge Laying of the hedge between the Cow Field and Recreation Field...
Hedges form the boundary of the Field along Wood Lane and on the Cycle Path to Parkgate. Work to improve the quality of the hedge was completed in 2011 and 2012. However the section from the gate on the Sport Field to around Paddock Drive remains generally in poor condition. Gaps are appearing. A section of the hedge adjacent to the sport field is made up entirely of Bramble which in places is dying back and if no action this is likely to continue giving direct access from the road to the field.
The Friends have been working with the TCV, and senior members of the council's parks and green spaces team to consider options. The experts recommended that the following action is taken.
TCV volunteers will plant Approximately 70 Metres of new hedge plants from the gate on the Sports field towards the direction of the Cow field - A variety of suitable plant species will be used
The Wood Lane hedge line will be gap filled along its entire length with new plants where needed. This work will be carried out by TCV volunteers.
In addition as part of this project the council the council commissioned their contractor to carry out the following work
- Prepare for the planting of new hedge by reducing the thickness of the bramble whilst leaving enough to provide a barrier to the road.
- Cut back verge to the hedge along the Wood Lane side of the hedge.
- Reduce the height of the hedge further to open views (where possible).
- On the Cow Field side the height of the blackthorn will be reduced to hedge height
Improve habitat by Hedge Laying
In addition, the Hedge at the bottom of the field between the Sports and Cow field that was planted as part of the initial project in 2012 has taken extremely well and it was recommended that part of this section was layed by TCV volunteers to reduce its height and allow it to increase its thickness and therefore improve the habitat for wildlife.
This community project was funded by; Neston Town Council, CWAC Green Spaces, Friends of Park Fields and a Community appeal with valued support from the TCV volunteers.
The Project was successfully completed Just before Lockdown In March 2020 (see the pictures below)..