Wild Cornwall: People for Pollinators is an ambitious project that will restore at least 30 hectares of wildflower-rich habitat along the north and south coast of Cornwall. It will create a nature-rich travel corridor for our pollinators and other invertebrates to move across the landscape, recolonise sites, increase in numbers, and flourish in the future.
We have already received £290,507 of funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Milkywire to deliver a part of this project, the funds raised here would enable us to further extend the project and support even more of Cornwall’s precious pollinators.
Image: Bumblebee foraging on Field Scabious © Will Hawkes
Buglife is the UK’s only organisation devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates: our vision is a wildlife-rich planet where other species thrive alongside people; our mission is halting the extinction of invertebrates and achieving sustainable populations. We inspire people to learn about and protect invertebrates for future generations.
One of Buglife’s main strategic priorities is combatting the loss of pollinating insects and their habitat. Our ‘B-Lines’ programme delivers an imaginative and beautiful solution to the problem of the loss of wildflower meadows, nature-rich grasslands and pollinators. B-Lines are a series of ‘insect pathways’ running through our countryside and towns, along which we are restoring and creating a series of wildflower-rich habitat stepping-stones. They link existing wildlife areas together, creating a network, like a railway, that will weave across the UK landscape. This will provide large areas of restored habitat benefiting bees, butterflies and a host of other wildlife, including small mammals, bats, birds and amphibians.
The need for action
We are in the midst of a biodiversity crisis. Invertebrates comprise the vast majority of species on earth. They are showing the greatest declines of all our wildlife with a 64% decline in flying insects in the UK since 2004. Eight species of bumblebee have become extinct in Cornwall since the 1970s and c.60% of butterflies recorded in the county are found on fewer sites today than 30 years ago.
Cornwall’s landscape is changing and habitats are being lost, degraded and fragmented due to pressures from intensive agriculture, pollution and urbanisation. Population pressures on wildlife are massively exacerbated by the 4+ million visitors to the county each year, ironically attracted by its beautiful countryside and coastline. If we are to halt wildlife decline and improve invertebrate habitats, the species-rich wildlife areas that do remain need to be bigger, better quality and better connected.
Background to Project
Wild Cornwall: People for Pollinators will capitalise on the success of Buglife’s recently completed North Cornwall B-Lines project that addressed the decline in insect pollinators by restoring flower-rich habitats at several sites, with habitat work targeted to help the Large Scabious Bee (Andrena hattorfiana) and Brown-banded Carder Bee (Bombus humilis). This previous B-Lines project identified an urgent need to restore further areas of grassland habitat and focus conservation efforts on a broader range of priority invertebrate species. We have secured funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Milkywire to start this work, but additional funding is required to make the most of this opportunity if we are to increase our habitat restoration target and secure the long-term future of these endangered and priority species before it is too late.
Image: Large Scabious Mining Bee © Will Hawkes
Wild Cornwall: People for Pollinators Project Outline
This exciting and new project will improve the natural heritage of the Cornish coast, restoring a minimum of 30 hectares (ha) of wildflower-rich habitat along B-Lines in the north (between Padstow and The Towans), and south (between Rame Head and Roseland Peninsular).
Alongside wildflower-rich habitat restoration we will undertake bespoke interventions for at least 10 rare and threatened invertebrates, including four Priority Species listed under Section 41 (S41) of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (‘NERC Act’): Long-horned Bee (Eucera longicornis), Hornet Robberfly (Asilus crabroniformis), Black Oil Beetle (Meloe proscarabaeus) and Grizzled Skipper (Pyrgus malvae). These will range from planting more of that species’ foodplant, creating additional nesting habitat, removing scrub or awareness raising etc.
This project will:
-Bring together Cornwall’s diverse communities, including visitors, and encourage them to work together to help wildlife.
-Increase public engagement and understanding of species and ecosystems and empower people of all ages to champion our invertebrates.
-Provide training to a range of audiences about the importance of wildflower-rich habitats, insect pollinators, rare invertebrates, and how they can get involved with habitat restoration and ecological surveying and recording.
-Improve quality and connectiveness of habitat corridors and stepping-stones within B-Lines; enabling pollinators, rare invertebrates and other wildlife to freely disperse and re-colonise the landscape.
Image: Black Oil Beetle © Ben Lee
-Working with landowner partners, at least 30 ha of wildflower-rich habitat will be restored within the B-Lines network improving habitat connectivity for key species. Site-specific management plans will be drawn up for restored areas, with landowner agreements that sites will be managed long-term for wildlife (minimum 10-years post-project).
-Targeted habitat interventions will aid the recovery of 10 species of rare and threatened invertebrate: to include the four Section 41 Priority species listed above, as well as the Large Scabious Bee, the Coastal Pearl Moth (Mecyna asinalis), Glow-worm (Lampyris noctiluca), Zipperback Hoverfly (Chrysotoxum elegans) and the weevils Cathormiocerus maritimus and Cleopomiarus micros.
-Bespoke habitat management advice and land management workshops will be provided to landowners within the B-Line network further improving the quantity, quality and connectivity of Cornish coastal habitats. Through this advice, landowners will be aware of the presence of threatened invertebrates and how to safeguard them.
-Surveys for plants and invertebrates will be undertaken in new areas to underpin the habitat work and ensure that the best possible habitat interventions are made for key threatened species. This will improve our understanding of how rare/threatened invertebrates are using the Cornish landscape and of what their conservation needs are.
-At least 10 local volunteers will be trained in survey methods for key plant and invertebrate species. We intend that surveys will continue beyond the life of the project enabling better monitoring of populations over time.
-We will engage the local community with events including family activities, talks, guided invertebrate walks and identification workshops to encourage greater community interest in pollinator conservation and more awareness of some of the special invertebrate species with which they share their coastline and what those species need to survive. Activities will be focused on population centres in urban areas to ensure that we are engaging with under-represented groups and those most likely to benefit.
-We will work with local schools and youth organisations to deliver a series of sessions and activities on pollinator conservation for young people, especially hard-to-reach audiences aged 11–25 years.
-Interpretation panels at key sites will raise awareness of the importance of wildflower-rich sites and the special invertebrate species that can be found along the Cornish coastline.
-A short film will be produced to help highlight the work ‘Wild Cornwall’ project is doing and help reach wider audiences whilst the project is still running. The film will also serve as a legacy after the project is finished.
-Two new 12 month paid internship roles will provide experience, training and mentoring to support that individual into a career in conservation.
Image: Volunteers helping to plant native wildflower plug plants © Kate Jones
What could we do if we hit our target?
Additional funding of £133,000 raised through this platform will be used to extend the life of the project by nine months, hire a second Conservation Intern (working 4 days a week for 12 months), increase the area of land to be restored to 30 ha (our secured funding is to restore 25 ha) and increase the number of people engaged in invertebrate conservation. Additionally, we aim to complete research into how both the plants and invertebrates have benefitted from work undertaken through this project.
Both Conservation Interns will be provided with training and support that will not only help them to achieve project objectives but also provide them with skills and experience to help launch them into a conservation career. This increase in staff capacity will enable the project to restore even more habitat, engage with more people and help more of our native wildlife recover.
Funding will be used to increase the area of land to be restored in the project, through the purchase of local provenance wildflower seed and plug plants and paying for contractors to complete habitat work e.g. scrub clearance, preparing ground for seed sowing etc. Interpretation panels will be designed and installed at several key sites that will provide information on the project, the importance of wildflower-rich areas and the pollinators that use these sites.
As well as delivering on the ground conservation work and engaging with landowners, the Conservation Officer (with support from the interns) will deliver a range of exciting events and training to communities throughout the project area- they will require equipment and materials to deliver these events. These events will encourage people to get involved with helping nature on their doorstep and aid in the long-term legacy for the project. The more staff resource we have in the project, the more events and activities we will be able to run.
Funding will also be used to hire additional specialist external consultants e.g. local botanists and entomologists to survey sites, engagement support for public events, and film-making expertise for the production of a short film.
We will also require an increase in funding to pay staff travel expenses, as well as those of volunteers. To purchase tools for the delivery of volunteer conservation work parties as well as PPE for staff and volunteers.
How we will spend the money we raise
- £85,000 will allow us to extend our project by 9 months and recruit an additional 12-month Conservation Intern to work alongside our Conservation Officer.
- £28,000 will allow us to restore an additional 5 ha of species-rich grassland, taking our project total to 30 ha.
- £5,000 will allow us to undertake research into how both the plants and invertebrates have benefitted from work undertaken through this project.
- £4,000 will allow us to work with additional local experts to deliver more volunteer training and introduction to invertebrate sessions.
- £4,500 will cover additional costs of travel and accommodation for Conservation Officer, intern and volunteers.
- £6,500 will be used to cover costs linked to inflation and act as a contingency to the project.
We need to act now to ensure the long-term survival of Cornish coastal invertebrates. With your help we can improve the outlook for these threatened species by creating/restoring coastal habitats for pollinators, introducing targeted habitat interventions for priority coastal species, and creating wildflower stepping stones linking existing habitats and enabling invertebrates to move across the landscape, recolonise sites, increase in numbers, and flourish in the future. Please help us achieve our vision for a Cornish coastline filled with wildflowers, pollinators, and other invertebrates for the benefit of people and wildlife.
Thank you for reading our story and finding out more about our project.