A NEW new bug trail has been launched, telling the story of a village high street through the eyes of pollinators.

A leaflet and trail booklet are available from the entrance of Great Ayton's Discovery Centre, which is currently open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays between 11am and 2pm. The booklet provides space to record rubbings from seven posts at key spots in the village. A free bug trail app can be downloaded from App Store or Google Play to be used when following the trail.

The idea for the project came about when botanist Martin Allen looked at old maps of Great Ayton as part of work to prepare a pollinator plan for the village. He spotted that the 1853 6” OS map showed lots of orchards around Great Ayton. Mr Allen, together with Caryn Loftus, project manager of Moor Sustainable CIC, wanted to know more. Ms Loftus had come across a pollinator trail in St David’s in Wales and wondered if something similar could be created in Great Ayton to engage people in finding out more about the importance of pollinators and why the Brighten Up Great Ayton (BUG) group were adding more areas of planting to increase the number of pollinators.

Pollinators are important as, according to the charity Buglife: “One out of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on pollinators. It is almost impossible to over-emphasise the importance of the service pollinators perform for us.”

Wild pollinators include bumblebees and other bees, butterflies and moths, flies and various other insects such as beetles and wasps.

The Brighten Up Great Ayton group are now trying to address the lack of plants for pollinators through planting that is attractive to these insects in various spots around the village, and the Climate Action Stokesley and Villages group are working with parish councils to improve the biodiversity of the verges in the area.

For example, in 2019, a new mini-orchard was created by Brighten Up Great Ayton group to provide fruit for local residents and a stopping off place for honeybees and other pollinators. Research during this project found that there was an old orchard there previously which wasn’t known about at the time of planting.

A spokesperson for the project, said: "Thank you to all those who helped research the history for the trail. It has been made possible by money raised by National Lottery players through a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant and will be maintained thanks to a grant from Great Ayton Parish Council."

Ms Loftus added: “We are delighted to be able to launch the trail and hope that as lockdown restrictions lift both residents and visitors to the village will enjoy finding out more about bugs, how planting has changed from the earliest records of the village to current planting, and why additional plants to support pollinators have been added to help address the national decline.”

See www.visitgreatayton.com/bug-trail to find out more.