The recent hot weather has been perfect for the growth of orchids, with a bumper number being spotted around Essex & Suffolk Water’s Hanningfield Reservoir near Chelmsford so far this year.

More than 60 of the bee orchid have been spotted by the water company’s Conservation team, with many rare examples doing much better than expected after recent survey work was carried out.


Helen Jacobs, senior conservation advisor for Essex & Suffolk Water said: “I think we have the most bee orchids ever seen at Hanningfield Reservoir this year, and whilst many of them are on parts of our site that are not open to the public, we thought that nature lovers might like to see and share some of the pictures of these wonderful flowers.”


“Conditions have been extremely good for orchids, and the three beautiful kinds spotted this year particularly like the way we manage our grasslands as naturally as possible.”


Essex & Suffolk Water has also been busy planting new wild flower meadows and now has nearly an acre in bloom at the water treatment works next to Hanningfield Reservoir.


Alex Mueller, conservation advisor for Essex & Suffolk Water has been leading the project to plant more wildflowers at the company’s water treatment sites and she said: “Bees need our help at the moment and we thought as a company with lots of grassland areas we might be able to improve the diversity of flowers for the insects helping them to thrive.”


“Essex & Suffolk water is committed to protecting biodiversity, and a big part of this is ensuring our many grasslands are looked after so that wildflowers, bees and all the wildlife that relies on them can flourish into the future.


“Research has shown that having views of green spaces and wildlife helps to create a better working environment, and it’s great for both our people and visitors to our sites to be able to enjoy some wonderful natural beauty.”


Essex & Suffolk Water has a grassland management plan that to ensure that the wide range of habitats found on its sites are able to thrive. Grass cutting is used to manage the majority of its grasslands for wildlife conservation, with the frequency of cuts per year varying between different grassland types. A ‘conservation cut’ is carried out each year to protect ground-nesting birds and allow flowers to set seed.