THE NEW Mayor of Bridgwater has helped plant a ceremonial apple tree to celebrate the opening of a bee apiary near Durleigh.

Quantock Beekeepers’ new Divisional Apiary and Barn was officially opened by South West MEP Julie Girling.

Bridgwater Mayor David Loveridge grabbed a shovel and marked the occasion with the ceremonial planting of an apple tree.

Mr Loveridge was accompanied by his wife, Shirley, chair of Sedgemoor District Council Gill Slocombe, and her husband, Peter Slocombe.

The new apiary will be used by members of the local beekeepers’ division as well as a teaching resource for new beekeepers, including students from Bridgwater College and Brymore School.

Ken Edwards, secretary of Quantock Beekeepers and past President of Somerset Beekeepers, said: “Honeybee numbers have been falling dramatically in recent years.

“Our beautiful new apiary, which is literally buzzing with wildlife, used to be an inert landfill site.

“The land is uncontaminated and has been covered with clean soil, which we’ve planted with a huge variety of bee and wildlife friendly plants.”

The opening of the apiary was celebrated by the Chair of British Beekeepers’ Association, David Aston, and Somerset Beekeepers’ President, Caroline Butter.