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Originally published Summer 2021, by Nick Field

ALTHOUGH at the time of writing (late April) you wouldn’t know it from the night-time temperatures, Spring is finally with us, lockdown is easing – and plans for the Arundel Bee Project are finally gathering pace.

Many of you will have seen the new Pollinators Garden that has been constructed opposite the museum. Martin Duncan and his team from Arundel Castle have worked hard on this over the last few months and hopefully by the time you read this the metal fencing will have gone and the garden can be enjoyed by all. There will be further planting later in the year, but I hope you will agree that this is a huge improvement on what was there before.

Permission has now been granted and plans put in place for the first stage of wildflower planting on some of Arundel’s verges. Initially this will be the land outside the station (from the taxi office up to the turn in off the A27) and also both sides of the ‘new’ walkway, leading from the station, under the road and back to the main road. This work should start in May. It might look a bit of a mess to start with as the wildflower seeds need the existing grass and weeds removed, but once they have become established it should make the area look a lot better as well as providing much needed habitat for a wide variety of pollinators. The plan is then for more wildflowers to be sown on the two main roundabouts and roadside verges during this Autumn and Spring next year. There will be more updated on this as the year progresses.

The Community Apiary in Herington’s Field now has two active hives, plus several empty ones. As the existing bee colonies expand, they will be split and housed in the empty hives (hopefully removing their desire to swarm!) and once established we can begin getting residents who are interested dressed in bee proof suits so that they can see what the inside of a hive looks like and learn a bit about the bees. They can then decide if they would like to learn more and potentially becoming beekeepers themselves in the course of time.

Part of the reason for creating The Arundel Bee Project is for people to become involved and contribute to what should be an interesting community activity.
I’m therefore delighted that this has already started happening and several residents have come up with some great ideas.

Firstly, local postman and author Martin Alderton and his partner Karen Tunnicliffe launched The Arundel Wildflower Project. Pupils at local schools have been provided with wildflower seeds and have been encouraged to sow these in a wide variety of places. Martin and Karen have been inundated with photographs of the children busily sowing and will later get photographs of the results. The Arundel Bee Project has provided the schools with stickers that the children can use to show their support and Martin and Karen have arranged prizes for those that get the best results. A great initiative and its wonderful to get the local children involved!

Louise Kingshott from Fitzalan Road has produced a series of fabulous bags, embroidered with The Arundel Bee Project logo. At the time of writing she has already raised over £200, which will be used to buy additional bee equipment and wildflower seeds. Hugely appreciated and a great way of supporting the project!

Local artist Deirdre Davidson has produced a beautiful painting, depicting one of the wooden plant troughs we plan to instal in the town. The painting will be used in the future promotion of the project.

Sue Webb from Arundel Library got in touch to tell me that they wanted to plant bee friendly plants in the borders there and she and her colleague Kate have since done exactly that, with the help of Bob Tanner and the Arundel Gardens Association, who contributed towards the cost. A great project and fabulous to see different parts of the Arundel community coming together to make this happen.

So – lots of things are happening and I’m sure there will be lots more ideas from the community. If you have any thoughts, suggestions or pet projects that you’d like to include under The Arundel Bee Project remit, please don’t hesitate to get in touch –