Sidmouth biodiversity project celebrates its 10th anniversary

PUBLISHED: 18:23 04 August 2020

Friends of The Byes celebrates its tenth anniversary   Picture: Friends of The Byes

Friends of The Byes celebrates its tenth anniversary Picture: Friends of The Byes

Friends of The Byes

Sidmouth biodiversity project celebrates its 10th anniversary

Friends of The Byes celebrates its tenth anniversary   Picture: Friends of The ByesFriends of The Byes celebrates its tenth anniversary Picture: Friends of The Byes

Ten years ago, a group of environmentally-minded volunteers, led by Michael Horsnell, set out on a mission to establish an exciting environmental education project to enhance the Byes area in Sidmouth.

After securing a £50,000 lottery grant at the beginning of 2010, the group formed the Byes Environmental Education Project (BEE Project).

The group, now known as the Friends of The Byes (FoTB), aims to bring biodiversity to this large piece of parkland, by working together with councils, the landowner National Trust and other groups in the Sid Valley.

The area has seen many changes over the years, with the planting of a Community Orchard and many native hedges, several copses and specimen trees. Wildflower areas have also been established in Sid Meadow.

Friends of The Byes celebrates its tenth anniversary   Picture: Friends of The ByesFriends of The Byes celebrates its tenth anniversary Picture: Friends of The Byes

The improved habitats have attracted an array of wildlife to the area, such as bees, bats, birds, butterflies, invertebrates and mammals.

Although various grants have helped fund the project, the generosity of individuals has also played a large part in the enhancement through sponsorship of trees and benches.

Not only is the environment flourishing but the group is too, with a recent surge in volunteer numbers.

And for the last six years, the RHS In Your Neighbourhood (IYN) scheme has commended the group for its ‘Outstanding’ work in the Byes.

To commemorate its tenth anniversary, FoTB will be adding some festive decorations in the orchard and elsewhere throughout August.

Walks and talks, in groups of no more than five people, will be held every Saturday in August from 10.30am to 11.30am.

Its Saturday morning working parties will continue with an open invitation for people to visit group members in the orchard from 11.30am to discuss The Byes.

On Saturday, August 22 the group will hold a celebratory picnic in the orchard for its members.

Next year, it hopes to host an Open Day party for everyone who has had an involvement in the project, and to the wider public.

For more information about the Byes Environmental Education Project (BEE Project), or to make a donation, ring Kati on 07817 041239 or email FotByes@gmail.com


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