16 November 2010


Busy bees!

Volunteers in Monmouthshire come to the rescue of rare bumblebees

Recent restoration work on natural habitats around Magor and Caerwent in Monmouthshire will provide the rare shrill carder bumblebee with ideal, flower-rich grasslands, essential for them to thrive.

The shrill carder bumblebee (Bombus sylvarum) is restricted to just six areas across the UK. It’s one of our rarest bumblebees and depends on large areas of grassland that are full of flowers from April to September.

The work is being carried out by the Monmouthshire Meadows Group (MMG) and Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT), thanks to a grant from the Countryside Council for Wales (CCW).

CCW Conservation Officer Robert Bacon said “There are 24 bumblebee species in the UK, but only six of these are common. Habitat restoration work like this is key to the continued survival of our rarer species of bumblebee.”

Stephanie Tyler, Chairman of MMG said “The scrub cutter – a type of heavy duty lawn mower purchased with the CCW grant – has really helped the dedicated volunteers’ efforts to improve the overgrown sites.”

Although some of the sites are owned by members of the Monmouthshire Meadows Group, the group also contacted local landowners to tell them about the work.

Pippa Rayner, Conservation Officer for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust said:  “The Monmouthshire Meadows Group have worked closely with local landowners, giving them good advice on how to manage grasslands for bumblebees and other wildlife. The involvement of landowners is invaluable so that our grassland restoration efforts can extend over wider areas in Monmouthshire, helping to expand the range of the shrill carder bumblebee.”

For more information about the Monmouthshire Meadows Group and Bumblebee Conservation Trust or if you would like to get involved go to: or

The Monmouthshire Meadows Group and Bumblebee Conservation Trust play a crucial role in helping to meet the Local Biodiversity Action Plan Targets (LBAP) in the area through improving and restoring grassland habitats for wildlife.

Want to hear more about the shrill carder bumblebee and the importance of flower-rich grassland for bumblebees? The Monmouthshire Meadows Group are holding a meeting on the 18th of November at 7:00pm at the Priory, Monmouth in Monmouthshire.

There will also be a talk on the same subject on Friday 19th of November, at 7:00pm, at Shirenewton Recreational Hall Pippa Rayner. For more information contact Maggie Biss 01989 850840 or Steph Tyler 01600 719890 or see:

This project has been funded by the Countryside Council for Wales through a grant to the Monmouthshire Meadows Group who have done the work in partnership with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

 For more information contact CCW Press Officer, Brân Devey on 02920 772403 / 07747767443 or

 Notes to editors:

 The Countryside Council for Wales is an Assembly Government Sponsored

Body, working for a better Wales where everyone values and cares for our natural environment. More information about our work is available on

Team at work. Photograph courtesy of Martin Fenn-Smith.
Shrill carder bee.


Shrill carder bee.

Old and new technology. Photograph courtesy of Martin Fenn-Smith.