Free Living

Here in West Dorset I know of 11 sites that have been occupied by wild bees, some for many years. Mark them on a small scale map and stretch a thick piece of string over it on a line NNW-SSE and you'll cover them: a ley line? At one of the sites, Chantmarle Manor, bee scientist John Atkinson once told me had always been occupied by bees until he left home nearby to do his National Service in 1948.
Many of the colonies are in Churches: Evershot, Cattistock, Chilfrome, Maiden Newton, Martinstown and Upwey. Two are in trees: Frome Vauchurch old Rectory and Frampton House.
Not on this line, but on Rampisham Down, a friend of mine had bees above the kitchen ceiling of her dilapidated bungalow for over 25 years. I knew her for the last 10 years of her life and, as a regular visitor, knew they lasted continuously rather than being replaced by swarms. Unfortunately, after she died the new owner of the bungalow had them removed.

The gargoyle at Rampisham Church that has had bees for years. You can see the comb in the mouth and the bees flying in and out.

The last year has been very poor for bees and several of the sites now are bee-less.

31 May 2021

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Chris

United Kingdom
United Kingdom