Wildflower meadows help endangered bee to make a comeback on Somerset National Trust estate

An endangered bee is making a comeback on a Somerset National Trust estate with the help of wildflower-rich meadows.

Wildlife charities Buglife and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust have designated Lytes Cary Manor and estate as one of two "exemplary" sites for the rare shrill carder bee.

Lytes Cary Manor is a medieval house near Somerton. Credit: National Trust

The bee that gets its name from its high pitched buzz has suffered significant declines since the 1950s, and is now only found in a handful of locations in southern England and South Wales.

Like many bees, and other important pollinators, the shrill carder has suffered from the disappearance of 97% of the country's wildflower meadows since the Second World War.

Arable fields at the state have been turned into meadows over a decade. Credit: PA

With the National Trust being one of the largest landowners of flower-rich grasslands, its involvement is crucial for the conservation and recovery of the species.

Sinead Lynch, Bumblebee Conservation Trust

The designation of Lytes Cary as an exemplary site for the bee comes afteralmost a decade of work by volunteers, staff and farm tenants on the 361-acre mixed farming estate to recreate wildflower-rich areas.

Arable fields have been turned into meadows and large, wildflower-rich margins have been put in around the remaining fields of crops.

It is part of the Trust's wider work on its land to create more than 2,470 acres of flower-rich grasslands as part of efforts to boost nature in the countryside.

Lytes Carey has 361-acres to recreate wildflower-rich areas. Credit: National Tust

Over the winter our volunteers planted hundreds of white dead nettle and comfrey as well as a mixture of wildflowers from seed which will act as a wider source of nectar and pollen for foraging worker bees, including yellow rattle and black knapweed.

Mark Musgrave, National Trust lead ranger at Lytes Cary Manor