ALLOWING large areas of land to grow wild has helped a Keighley park win a national award for the second year in a row.

Cliffe Castle museum and park has once again received the ‘Bees’ Needs Champion’ award for its work to protect and promote bees and other pollinators.

It comes after staff and volunteers declared 2021 the ‘Year of the Bee’ at Cliffe Castle, and redoubled their work to communicate the importance of pollinators to visitors and the community.

A number of activities and events were organised through the year to help secure the award.

This included a ‘No Mow May’ which saw three acres of meadow in the park left to grow with wild flowers to attract pollinators and encourage wild flower meadow walks.

A "Pollinator Picnic" was held in the summer to teach families the importance of bees to the ecosystem. The event featured live performances and an appearance from the Cliffe Castle Queen Bee and Bracewell the Dragon.

GALLERY: Cliffe Castle Park becomes hive of activity for bee-themed event

October saw creative workshops on site, which led to a swarm of bee lanterns buzzing in the Keighley Arts Festival Lantern Parade, while the park's Apple Day was celebrated with tastings of the fruit and some apple chutney and apples rely on pollinators to spread their seed.

Surveys have also been carried out to record pollinator species and population numbers to measure the impact of the efforts being made.

The Bees Needs Champion award recognises this hard work which was a collaboration between Cliffe Castle Museum and Park staff; the pollinator experts Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and Simon Saxton; and Cliffe Castle Support Group volunteers.

The award was set up by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs to celebrate examples of exemplary initiatives by local authorities, community groups, farmers and businesses to support pollinators.

Rebecca Pow MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for DEFRA told the Cliffe Castle team: “I am particularly impressed by the variety of activities such as your wellbeing and wildflower walks, workshops and performances and not to mention your participation in the FIT counts for the Pollinator Monitoring Scheme.”

Jason Longhurst, Bradford Council’s Strategic Director for Place, said: “I am delighted to hear that Cliffe Castle Museum and Park have received this award for the second year in a row. It recognises all the hard work being done by everyone involved to encourage biodiversity to the site and to promote the important role of pollinators to visitors and local residents.”