The Meadow is a wild pollinator and honeybee sanctuary on the Dartington Estate. Our aim is to establish a thriving wildflower meadow which will increase bio-diversity and strengthen local ecology. We are creating a haven for wildlife – making natural habitats for bees, butterflies, bugs and birds. As bee guardians, we are dedicated to the well-being of our pollinating allies, trusting in the resilience of the colony and their inherent wisdom. The project began in May 2015 on the Dartington Estate in Devonshire.
Tree Beekeeping Log Hives
The Meadow is home to a pair of iconic tree beekeeping hives, handcrafted during a workshop May 2017 with Jonathan Powell of the Natural Beekeeping Trust. These log-hives are built in the traditional Zeidler style; an ancient craft that draws upon thousands of years of nearly forgotten beekeeping history. Until recently, honeybees would have dwelled within the cavities of living trees, however due to deforestation very little suitable habitat remains. Using local materials, log hives mimic this evolutionary niche; producing a bee home that is naturally insulated, guardable and resilient.
– Simon Kellam, Participant
Wildflower Meadow Restoration
We are increasing bio-diversity of wildflowers and grasses to attract pollinators which symbiotically nourish the land as a whole. We are determined to inspire meadow restoration by demonstrating how a small patch of land can be transformed with minimal effort. For the past three autumns we’ve hand scythed and cleared The Meadow to protect living habitats whilst decreasing the fertility of the soil.
Working with Donna Cox of Moor Meadows; a community initiative to create, conserve and restore flower rich grasslands on Dartmoor, The Meadow has become integrated into the growing network of local meadow makers. In July, we assisted in the creation of the first Dartmoor Meadows Festival, dedicated to celebrating and protecting our vanishing meadows. Supported by Donna’s wealth of experience, this autumn we hand harvested wildflower seed from her meadows, sewing them in small patches that we’ll be closely observing in The Meadow.
In early Spring 2017, we collaborated with local entomologist Tarryn Castle of Pupa Education to build innovative bug homes. These funky insect palaces are made of locally sourced, natural materials that maximise surface area, nooks, crannies and cavities, welcoming a plethora of different species.
2019 AND BEYOND
Our vision is to continue stewarding the land with minimal management, scything and clearing the meadow once a year and encouraging it to truly be an insect and wildflower haven. It is our intention to care for The Meadow as a conservation site – listening, observing and researching the ways of this ecologically unique wildlife habitat.
*Ringlet & Thistle photo taken by Kim Reubins