Honey bees boost biodiversity at Fauld

Local beekeepers have chosen our Fauld site as the ideal place to install six honey bee hives. Not only is the honey flowing, but the bees are boosting biodiversity too.

Uttoxeter-based sustainable beekeeping business Beeworthy Hives picked our mining site at Fauld for its abundance of suitable habitat, including ponds, a river, a gorse, and bee-friendly trees including willow and alder.

With 80,000 bees in each hive at the height of summer, nearby crops, flowers, and other plants benefit from plenty of pollination. This helps both the plants themselves and other wildlife to flourish.

Kathy Shaw, who runs the business with her husband and has 40 years’ experience with bees, said: “We are very pleased with the results of our hive installation at the Fauld mine site. The proximity to water and wooded areas is perfect for the bees and with these hives being between ponds, the bees have been very productive. We have been able to harvest the honey and package it up for local independent retailers and farm shops. We have even ‘paid’ rent to British Gypsum by letting them have jars of Fauld honey free of charge!”

Mine Manager Jim Daykin added: “We are keen to encourage and protect local biodiversity around our site, and we also support the work of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. Honey bees are in decline due to the scarcity of beekeeping skills, as well as insecticides that pose the most direct risk to pollinators.

“So we are very pleased we have formed a partnership with Beeworthy Hives. It’s an added bonus to receive the jars of honey, which are very popular with the team here.” 

Insecticides, which are chemicals designed to kill insects, are widely used in the environment, especially in cropland areas. Industrial agriculture is one of the main reasons for the global decline in bee populations, alongside climate change and disease. By providing safe habitat for bees, we hope to help local populations thrive, which in turn supports wider biodiversity in the area.

The hives are part of our Fauld site’s biodiversity action plan, which has also involved planting an orchard. At the same time, they support the objectives of our Building Better Communities programme, which aims to improve biodiversity and support communities in the areas surrounding each of our sites. Read about the bat hotel we recently helped install near our East Leake site.