Buzzing at Cotehele

Bee on a blue cornflower

The garden, hedgerows and verges are filled with flowers at Cotehele in summer and that’s great news for pollinators like bees and butterflies who feed from the nectar they provide.

Counting butterflies

As part of the earth’s complex eco-system, pollinators are vital for the continuance of life of earth, so we’re keen to look after them at Cotehele. They respond really quickly to environmental changes, so are a good indicator of the health of ecosystems in an area.

Our rangers monitor butterfly numbers from April to September every year to check their numbers are still healthy here and you can join in with the national Big Butterfly Count here from 19 July to 11 August.

Pick up a free spotter sheet from reception or the Mill, take yourself off to a quiet spot on the estate or in the garden and see how many different butterflies you can see. We'll collect the data from everyone's counts and send them off to the charity Butterfly Conservation, who organise this count each year.

Butterfly feeding

On Fridays through the summer holidays you can join a free activity session in the Brewery Bookshop and make your own butterfly feeder to take home and encourage more beautiful butterflies into your own outdoor space.

This activity is running from 11am-3pm on Fridays between 29 July and 1 September and most days in the week from 22-26 July.

Getting buzzy with the bees

This year through our raffle we’re raising money to commission a new sculpture for the Mother Orchard. The sculpture will be of bees on a honeycomb to celebrate the importance of bees in keeping the orchards growing and productive.

A bee gets a feast while pollinating the apple tree
A bee feasting on nectar from apple blossom
A bee gets a feast while pollinating the apple tree

Within the sculpture are homes for hibernating bees, so the piece will not only celebrate these wonderful insects but also protect them for the future.

You can purchase a raffle ticket for £1 when you visit and know that as well as helping to look after bees you could win a prize of £10,000.

The future for pollinators

If you followed our free VIP trail (Very Important Pollinators) at Cotehele this spring, you’ll know that pollinators are vital for food production worldwide, but their numbers have been in decline because of the loss of hedgerows, tarmacking of gardens and loss of meadowland amongst other things.

The National Trust is trying to reverse this decline by working with our tenant farmers on ways to increase wildflowers, planting traditional orchards and closely monitoring the health of pollinator populations at our places and we’re proud to be playing our part in this work at Cotehele.