It’s not just passengers that are making a beeline to Downham Market station in Norfolk, as a new bee garden has been planted at the station to attract the local insect population.
Great Northern’s parent company, Govia Thameslink Railway, has partnered with environment charity Groundwork East to make the new garden especially attractive to bees by selecting a range of plant that will pull in local pollinators including lavender, sedum, sage, rosemary and verbena.
An information board has been put in place for anyone wanting to find out the benefits these plants bring to bees.
As part of the project, Groundwork East has also donated money to the local Women’s Institute, which manages other floral displays at the station, as they will be helping water the bee garden plants.
And it won’t just be Downham Market station that will be abuzz with bees – as part of a wider station improvement programme by Govia Thameslink Railway, there will be similar gardens at Sandy, Flitwick, Palmers Green and New Southgate in North London, and Newhaven Harbour in East Sussex. All were suggested when Govia Thameslink Rail spoke to passengers and community groups.
Managing director for Great Northern and Thameslink, Tom Moran, said: “We’re making stations more attractive for our passengers, and more sustainable assets for their local communities.
“These bee gardens are a great example of how we’re doing just that. We’re proud to be working with Groundwork East, among hundreds of partners across our network, to support the post-lockdown recovery – building back better and greener.”
Groundwork East’s operations manager, Chris Dungate, said: “It’s great for us to be working with GTR on creating a new pollinator-friendly area at Downham Market station. We hope commuters and station staff enjoy the new planting.”
Bees are important to all forms of life as it is estimated that one third of the food consumed each day – fruit, vegetables, meat and other animal products – relies on pollination. Some of this is done by other insects, birds and bats, or by wind, but bees pollinate about 80 per cent of the world’s plants, including 90 different food crops.
Globally there are more honey bees than any other type of pollinating insect. Many animal species rely on bees for their survival