Several Craven organisations are doing their part to rejuvenate a declining bee population.

Hilary Fenten, from the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said that bees and pollinating insects were so important that various groups had come together to plant 22 traditional, hardy Yorkshire fruit trees and 100 hedge plants on the Tarn Moor estate, off Grassington Road, Skipton.

Hilary, who lives at Selside, said the planting was phase two of a Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust project, People in the Dales, and phase three would take place in early spring.

She added: “Because we are increasingly worried about the health and wellbeing of pollinating insects such as butterflies and bees, we plan to plant traditional Yorkshire fruit trees in public places. This will not only help the insects and look beautiful, but also supply free fruit for local people.

“In future we can look forward to the beauty of blossom in the spring, fruit in autumn, pots of honey and an attractive source of food for many more bees and other pollinating insects. The flora and fauna of Yorkshire are having a hard time and this is one way we can help to repair the damage to habitats done by humans.

“The Campaign to Protect Rural England has also been campaigning for many years to manage the road verges of Craven, so that flowers and the wildlife can use them as spaces to live in and reverse the dangerous decline in numbers and health. Bees need a better deal.”

The land at Tarn Moor is owned by a trust and the tenants are Wharfedale Beekeepers, whose chairman, Simon Croker, is heading up the project.

The ground was cleared by offenders, who are learning rural skills, and the trees were planted by refugees who live in Leeds.

The trees were paid for by Skipton Rotary Club and a £500 donation from Skipton Building Society.