New for 2019, visitors are invited to part in a new, free pebble trail throughout the gardens, which celebrates bees and butterflies.

The trail guides visitors throughout the castle gardens to find out more about these fascinating creatures and how we can help protect them. Trail is included with admission and visitors can pick up their activity sheet from the Visitor Centre on arrival.

Why are bees so important?

You might not know it, but bees are so important. As a pollinator we rely on them, and other insects like butterflies, to pollinate most of the fruit and vegetables that we eat on a daily basis.

Without them it would cost UK farmers £1.8 billion a year to pollinate their crops. In a world without bees, life would be much harder for everyone, our food would cost a lot more to produce and buy, and both our environment and economy would suffer.

Bees pollinate plants in gardens, parks and the wider countryside too. The presence of bees is a sign of how healthy, or unhealthy, our environment is.

Over 270 species of bee have been recorded in Great Britain including the Honey bee, Bumblebees, Solitary bees, Garden bumblebee, Red-tailed bumblebee and Red mason bee.

Bees at Sudeley

Bees have certainly made Sudeley their home over the centuries. It’s very likely that bee hives would have been kept on the estate, to provide honey and wax for the Castle’s inhabitants.

Honey was a valuable rural commodity and often used as currency to pay for rents and tithes. Beeswax was highly prized by the church for its candle making properties.

You’re closer to bees than you think…

What did you have for breakfast today? Jam on toast? Fresh fruit? Dried fruit in your muesli or some grilled tomatoes with your fry-up? Maybe fruit juice or a coffee?

All of this was brought to you by bees! It’s tempting to think that bees just provide us with honey – but in fact they’re behind much of the food we eat, including most fruit and vegetables.

Apples, Mangos, Kiwi Fruit, Plums, Peaches, Nectarines, Pears, Coconuts, Strawberries, Onions, Cashew nuts, Apricots, Avocados, Kidney Beans, Green Beans, Cherries, Celery, Coffee, Walnuts, Sunflower Oil and even Cotton, are just a small selection of what we stand to lose if bees disappear.

What’s the problem?

Since 1900, the UK has lost 13 species of bee, and a further 35 are considered under threat of extinction. None are protected by law. Across Europe nearly 1 in 10 wild bee species face extinction.

Known causes of bee decline include things that affect us too. These include changes in land use, habitat loss, disease, pesticides, farming practices, pollution, invasive non-native plant and animal species, and climate change.

What can I do to help?

You can make a huge difference by doing just a few simple things…

  • Plant flowers rich in nectar – this will really help bees find the food they need – don’t worry if you don’t have a garden! A wild window box works wonders for bees too. Pollinator-friendly plants include: Lavender, Borage, Foxgloves, Cosmos, Scabious, Marigolds, Marjoram, Abelia, Honeysuckle, Lungwort, Monarda or Bee Balm, Sedum, Winter aconite, Crocus, Phacelia, Snowdrops, Rosemary/
  • Choose local, British honey to lend your support to our honey bees and their beekeepers.
  • Encourage your friends and neighbours to do the same will help create bee-friendly communities.
  • Build a bug or bee hotel.
  • You’ll find a range of bee-themed products in the shop, such as locally-made honey and candles, as well as local honey being used in several of the dishes on the restaurant’s seasonal menu. Additionally, the gardening team have been working hard this year to plant more pollinator-friendly plants in the gardens, and we’ve put a bee hive along the nature trail (don’t worry, it’s not active).

Further reading

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There is always something going on at Sudeley…