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Bee Town Marlow
Bee Town Marlow

England's First Bee Town

 ‘Without bees (and thousands of other insect species that call the UK home), it wouldn’t be long before our ecosystem collapsed. Bees pollinate our wild trees and wild flowers, which then support other insects, which then support birds, bats, mammals and everything up the food chain with food and shelter.’ The Woodland Trust.


Bees are crucial to our survival: almost 90% of wild plants and 75% of leading global crops depend on animal pollination. One out of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on pollinators such as bees, and crops that depend on pollination are five times more valuable than those that do not.


In the summer of 2020, Wild Marlow had the idea to make Marlow England’s first Bee Town, providing crucial support to these important pollinators.


The idea was prompted by Monmouth, in Wales, who with charity Bees for Development helped us develop the project. We saw that Bee Town Marlow could provide a unique focus for many of our activities and had the potential to involve everyone – schools, businesses, churches, other wildlife groups, the surrounding area, visitors to the town and residents of all ages and abilities.


We approached Marlow Town Council to engage them in our Bee Town project, and they agreed to support us. Together we developed a Pollinator Policy whereby the Council committed to not using glyphosate (the chemical used in weedkiller that’s harmful to wildlife), to creating and maintaining wildflower areas in the town, to consider the environment in planning decisions and generally to support Wild Marlow’s Bee Town activities.


Bee Town Marlow was launched in summer 2022 at our very first Bee Festival in Higginson Park, with stallholders including beekeepers, artists, jewellery designers, bee-themed food, books, bee-friendly plants and many other bee-themed activities. Encouragement from naturalist Steve Backshall came in a recorded video, and the many visitors to the event expressed their delight and support. It was a resounding success, and will be repeated bi-annually, with the next one taking place in 2025.


Since the beginning of the project we’ve seen a plethora of positive changes in Marlow — all around the town there’s evidence of Bee Town activities. There are wildflower areas with signage explaining that we’re looking after the bees; schools projects; wild verges and wild areas in public spaces; Guides workshops; and we’ve held walks and talks about the importance of bees with a number of local groups. 


Our aim is to spread the word widely through local parishes and Buckinghamshire and encourage participation in similar projects.


We’re proud of what Marlow has achieved so far as a committed Bee Town. There’s plenty more to do, though, and our plans include providing advice on how to support bees in your garden, on your balcony or via your school or workplace.


We very much hope that you will support us in helping bees to survive and thrive.

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