Beewolf found in Rushcliffe

I recently posted an article on Philanthus Triangulum The Beewolf (click here), in which I speculated that based on sightings elsewhere, it was probably only a matter of time before this fascinating insect would be found in Rushcliffe.

Female Beewolf at Skylarks, 3 Sept 2022

So, it is with a mixture of surprise and embarrassment I report that, a few days after posting the article, whilst cataloguing images I had taken at Skylarks in September last year, I found two images of a female Beewolf feeding on ivy.

So, rather more quickly than I had imagined, the Beewolf is here!

Plans explored to enhance and protect hedgerows in Rushcliffe

Plans are being explored on further improving the hedgerow network in Rushcliffe to protect wildlife and help to tackle climate change.

Rushcliffe Country Park fence hedge

Rushcliffe Borough Council is now working closely with partners to reach out to farmers and landowners to provide advice and support on managing hedgerows across the Borough.

Recognising that hedges have a positive effect for both wildlife and the amenity of residents, they play a vital role in carbon reduction and the authority has a strategic aim to increase the hedgerow network by 40% across the Borough by 2050.

It follows a national campaign by the Government’s Environmental Improvement Plan 2023, helping to tackle the climate emergency.

The Council has statutory regulations in place to protect hedgerows and the unauthorised removal of a hedgerow can result in a fine of up to £5000 and can enforce replacement planting.

Hedgerows are an important component of the Rushcliffe countryside and play a crucial role in protecting wildlife and provide food, shelter and linear routes for many species.

Bats navigate and feed along hedgerows and over 30 species of bird nest in them. Mammals also use the areas for shelter and ditches alongside hedgerows are home to a diverse range of invertebrates.

The Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Communities and Climate Change Cllr Abby Brennan said: “A wildlife-rich environment has been shown to provide health and economic benefits.

“As part of our Carbon Clever initiative and a step towards our plans to becoming carbon neutral by 2023, we are looking at ways we can further protect hedgerows.

“Most hedgerows are over 150 years old and they enhance the appearance and character of the Borough. They also provide homes and corridors for wildlife, crucial for biodiversity.

“We have hundreds of miles of hedgerow across the Borough and every single hedgerow is important for the environment. Many predate 1850 and we have measures in place to monitor and protect these areas.

“We want to engage with private landowners and farmers and we’re taking further action to build those relationships and work with our partners.

“There is Government support and other sources of funding available from The Woodland Trust, The Forestry Commission and more to assist with the maintenance and management of hedgerows.

“I encourage private landowners and farmers to find out more about these opportunities and utilise free tools and trusted resources on our website at

“We also have a free guide to planting native hedgerows for residents”.

For further information on protecting hedgerows, including advice grant funding opportunities, visit our website pages.

Badger Vacination Programme cancelled due to DEFRA

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust highlights frustration and anger at Defra’s last minute decision to pull funding for badger vaccinations on the Notts/Leics border

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has today spoken of its frustration and anger that its efforts to vaccinate badgers to help control the spread of bovine tuberculosis (bTB) must end due to a last minute decision by Defra. The decision, made with just a week’s funding remaining, has left the Trust with no option but to end the project – which formed part of the Government’s Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme (BEVS).

Speaking on behalf of the Trust, Chief Executive Paul Wilkinson said:

Although Defra only provided partial funding, we have chosen to support the BEVS programme for the past seven years because it was the right thing to do – the right way to protect badgers and to protect farmers’ livelihoods. The match funding provided through our donors and cost savings delivered through our specially trained project volunteers meant our project, which has vaccinated 275 badgers, delivered excellent value for money and we are proud of our record. We would like to express our thanks to everyone that has donated and volunteered to make this possible and its very sad that we won’t now be able to continue.”

“Having the rug pulled from under us by our project partner when we had a skilled and motivated team primed for action has left us baffled and frustrated – but knowing that we will not now be able to vaccinate badgers on land where farmers are ready and waiting for us to do so makes us angry”.

The Charity, which has a long history of working with farmers and landowners across the county, feels it is the victim of the Government’s decision, in 2019/20, to expand the badger cull into its original project area – undermining more than six years work and resulting in the Trust having to build relationships with landowners from scratch.

The Trust has spent the past 12 months engaging with farmers and landowners and its project manager and volunteer team were all set for a new round of vaccinations this year.

Paul explained:

“Despite the expansion of the cull, which we felt was wholly unjustified, we remained committed to the BEVS programme and to supporting farmers through vaccination and worked extremely hard to develop a new vaccination area. The BEVS team were aware of the challenges we faced and backed us every step of the way – so to have the fact we’ve were unable to vaccinate last year thrown back at us as part justification to pull the funding feels like a betrayal – not only of us as project partners, but of the farmers who had agreed for us to vaccinate on their land.”

Defra is currently funding a £2.27 million pilot project designed to enable farmers to vaccinate badgers on their own land and the Trust feels that this change of direction is at the heart of the decision not to extend its funding for another 12 months.

Paul concluded:

“We have fought extremely hard to keep this project going, making up the funding gap year on year. For Defra’s bTB Programme Team to sign off the letter which effectively culled our vaccination project with a statement about them remaining committed to working in partnership with groups that want to vaccinate badgers is difficult to swallow”.

“To see our successful, cost effective project, which only cost Defra in the region of £30,000 a year end just as a recently fully-funded £2.27million pilot programme gets under way, is hard to take, especially when there are landowners ready and waiting for us to vaccinate on their land. However, we hope that the new programme is a success as we remain utterly convinced that badger vaccination is a key part of efforts to control the spread of bTB and to limit its devastating impacts on farmers and farm businesses”.