Apley secures Buglife project & DEFRA funding

Buglife has been awarded a £184,000 grant through DEFRA’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund to deliver a new B-Lines project between Apley and Telford in Shropshire running alongside the River Severn. Working in partnership with Shropshire Wildlife Trust and various landowners including the Apley Estate, the Severn B-Lines project will restore a 5 mile stretch of agricultural land into beautiful wildflower floodplain meadows and help the recovery of pollinator insects. The project, which will create two new jobs, will establish habitat corridors and stepping-stones for insects to disperse and re-colonise.

Through the project Buglife will work the Apley Estate, Telford & Wrekin Council, Madeley Town Counciland Gorge Parish Council to create and restore 20 hectares of species-rich grassland habitat across 19 sites, enabling pollinator insects such as bees, wasps, butterflies and moths to create new colonies and nesting sites and facilitate their long-term recovery in the area.  Running alongside the National Cycle Routes 45 and 55 and the River Severn, the restored species-rich floodplain meadows will provide attractive, continuous and accessible active travel-corridors where people can engage with nature to help improve their health and wellbeing.

Around half of the B-Line (2.5 miles) will run through land belonging to the 8,500-acre Apley Estate which approached Buglife about the project through its ongoing work with Shropshire Wildlife Trust.  As well as the riverside corridor, Apley will create a similar grassland habitat area at its popular visitor attraction Apley Farm Shop.  Interpretation boards and events at the destination will also encourage greater understanding of the importance of pollinators to the world around us.

The project will also benefit the local community by providing opportunities for practical conservation volunteering, pollinator advice workshops and community events – such as on wildlife gardening – and schools education sessions. In addition, it will create a new farmer and landowner cluster group led by The Apley Estate, to communicate pollinator-friendly farming techniques and inspire other landowners to restore additional species-rich grasslands ideal for pollinators on their own sites.

Commenting on the award, Buglife Conservation Officer, Hayley Herridge said “We are delighted to have been awarded this grant from DEFRA following a competitive application process to deliver our first B-Lines project in Shropshire. In England alone we have lost over 97% of our wildflower meadows since the 1930s which has resulted in a serious decline in pollinator insects. Through an exciting partnership between local landowners and delivery partners, the project will restore important habitat for pollinators and will also provide additional nature-based solutions in the form carbon sequestration in soil, as a measure to mitigate against climate change”.

Graeme Manton, Estate Manager at The Apley Estate said “Apley is committed to delivering a sustainable vision across the estate.  We look after all 8,500 acres of the estate which includes parkland, farmland and forestry with a keen focus on biodiversity and the ecological impact of our activities.  We are incredibly excited to be working with Buglife to turn some of our agricultural land into species-rich grasslands for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Pollinator insects are vital to the agricultural economy and local ecosystems, but we also realise the vast benefits for people locally and the many visitors from Telford and the Black Country in terms of increasing access to nature and the joy it brings to them”. ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Buglife_