In recent years our society has begun to recognise the vital role that nectar feeding insects play in pollinating our food.
Pollination is an essential ‘ecosystem service’ provided by insect pollinators and one which is relevant to us all. Without the flowers the bees are unable to feed and sustain their colonies; without the bees the flowers are not fertilised so are unable to set their seed and reproduce. In this respect, our wild flowers and bumblebees are of immense importance to us all as they are intimately bound to the production of our food.
The North Pennines is widely acknowledged to possess the finest concentration of upland hay meadows anywhere in the UK. This is one of the rarest grassland types in the UK with recent estimates indicating that there are less than 900ha in the country, of which 350ha (around 40%) are in the North Pennines AONB. The very best meadows can support 30 different plant species within just one square metre and this diversity of flowers in turn provides a rich and varied source of food for nectar feeding wildlife.
The North Pennines AONB Partnership is about to (Summer 2013) launch its Nectarworks project to instigate the appropriate management of all remaining patches of flower-rich grassland within upland hay meadows, to expand the resource of flower-rich grassland and educate people about the links between this rare habitat and their own lives.