The newly-restored bee sculpture is the centrepiece of an environmental conservation project alongside the Mere at Ellesmere. The aim is to create a haven for bees which are under threat from the overuse of pesticides, a lack of nectar-rich flowering plants and other factors.
The willow sculpture of a lone Wool Carder Bee was originally created seven years ago by artist Caroline Lowe from Llanymynech. She was commissioned by the Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative, a voluntary art group which has developed a sculpture trail around Cremorne Gardens and other parts of the town, including the canal.
The eye-catching artwork sits on a pile of deadwood constructed from three beech trees which had to be felled because of disease.
But it had to be removed 18 months ago after it began falling apart because of weather damage. Now after careful restoration work by Caroline, it’s been given a makeover and reinstalled in the gardens overlooking the mere, which attract thousands of visitors every year.
The new oak woodpile has been freshly-drilled with hundreds of holes to provide a habitat for solitary bees and other insects. Volunteers working with Shropshire Council’s countryside team have planted nectar-rich flowers surrounding the bee metropolis, which sits within extensive beds of cornfield annual flowers and perennial wildflower beds.
New information boards have been placed around the area giving visitors more details about the project.
Shaun Burkey, Shropshire Council’s Countryside and Heritage Sites Manager, said: “The idea of this project is to raise awareness of the plight of our bees, show people that there are different types of bees and encourage everyone to do their bit to protect them by planting nectar rich flowers such as lavender, thyme, borage and phacelia into their own gardens.“