Malvern family helps rare beetle

Thursday 21st March 2019

Jane Brown, in red, with friends and volunteers at The Knapp (c) Margaret VernonJane Brown, centre, with friends and volunteers at The Knapp (c) Margaret Vernon

A Malvern family have joined forces with a local conservation charity to help a rare beetle.

Noble chafer beetle (c) Harry GreenFamily and friends of Ann Markham, who passed away in 2018, have donated and helped to plant fruit trees at a local nature reserve. The trees will help the rare noble chafer beetle to survive.

The apple trees, of local Worcestershire varieties William Crump and Colwall Quoining, have been planted in the orchard at Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s The Knapp and Papermill nature reserve.

Dom Cragg, Conservation Officer responsible for the nature reserve, explained “It’s been great to work with Ann’s family to plant these trees at The Knapp. Ann was involved with our local supporter group in Malvern for many years so this is a lovely way of commemorating her support for the Trust.

“Several of the apple trees in our orchard came down in the snow last winter so we’re really grateful for this donation that has allowed us to replace them.

“Old fruit trees are really important for rare noble chafer beetles – their larvae eat decaying and dead wood – so it’s vital that we have a series of fruit trees that will mature at different ages to ensure suitable habitat for years to come.”

Ann Markham’s daughter Jane Brown joined volunteers from the Trust, many of whom had known Ann for a long time, to plant the trees in early March.

Dave Cook, Jan Cairns and Jane Brown planting a tree (c) Margaret Vernon

The Knapp and Papermill nature reserve consists of an orchard, meadows and woodland with the Leigh Brook running through it.

The orchard is an important part of the reserve and a survivor of the fruit industry that was once important in the area.

Traditionally managed orchards provide great habitat for a range of wildlife. Flaky bark, crevices and holes provide space for invertebrates and birds to live in whereas the flowers and fruit provide food for insects, mammals and birds alike.

Jane commented “Everyone concerned is delighted that the sad passing of Mum has led to a lasting memorial benefiting our local wildlife.

“All those who attended the planting felt that it was a fitting and lasting tribute to a lovely lady and her late husband Harold, also an ardent advocate of wildlife conservation.”