Course Start Dates
Course dates are flexible; please get in touch for the next available date.
How can we ensure the survival of honey bees?
This weekend Course on sustainable beekeeping is run by Bees for Development at Ragman's Lane Permaculture Farm, in the Wye Valley.
The Course covers the management of bees, and natural ways to take care of them.
Meet the bees - a hands-on look at honey bee colonies housed in different hives
The natural life-cycle of honey bees - bee biology and ecology
Being a beekeeper - what does 'keeping bees' really mean?
The relationship between bees and flowers - pollination, plants and biodiversity
Honey bees in the landscape
Keeping bees healthy - what to do and when to act
Making and building low-cost hives - practical demonstration
Warre's People's hive, horizontal top-bar hives, frame hives: we look at each and help you chose which system is best for you and for your bees
Beekeeping and sustainability - what does the future hold?
The Course is suitable for those with or without previous knowledge of beekeeping.
What's included in the price?
All materials, meals and refreshments are included. Beekeeping clothing is provided, however please bring your own if you can. You need outdoor clothing, and shoes/slippers for inside. Shared, bunk house accommodation is available on site for Friday and/or Saturday nights at an extra cost of £15 per night
Beekeeping course attended a month ago was absolutely fantastic! All the tutors were passionate, incredibly generous with their knowledge and inspired me to order my first Warre hive after a couple of years of procrastination! The accommodation was fine, the food wonderful . Evening walks around Ragmans with other students were delightful & a great opportunity to share thoughts about the course. Would totally recommend the course .
The highlight was observing a swarm choosing the Warre hive to move into when all other hives were on display.
I would highly recommend this course, I had the most amazing weekend learning all about Bees and how to care for them. It was very informative and inspiring, offering good practical experience with the opportunity to open a hive and watch the bees at work, just amazing!
The accommodation was good and the food excellent all set in the beautiful Wye Valley.
I now feel confident enough to have a hive of my own.
Huge thank you. :)
I attended the course to gain as much insight into bees and beekeeping, and now feel confident enough to proceed further. The enthusiasm of the course providers was infectious and the way they imparted their knowledge was so informal and relaxed that it wasn't difficult to retain it over a busy weekend. Enough detail is provided to give a good understanding of all the processes involved and I came away feeling that any problems that arise in the future can be managed with a degree of confidence and some recommended reading.
Thoughly recommended, could not have been better.
I echo what Helen has said. I found it particularly useful to think of a colony of bees as having many of the characteristics of a small mammal. Some of the images used to illustrate the talks were particularly arresting eg that of a bee sting showing the long line of the bee's insides and the drone mating with the queen. I have never seen a Warre hive up close before and the swarm made a very clear choice in its favour. Top bar hives have long been a mystery to me and now I know how to make one.
I also very much enjoyed the company of the other course participants and interesting discussions continued into the evenings.
I found the course very informative and helpful. It gave me the confidence to review the way in which we'd been keeping our bees at our Community Farm up till now and to develop the skills to make what we are doing truly sustainable. It was also interesting to be able to look inside a Top Bar hive and to learn about bees in all their manifestations. We were very lucky to witness a swarm on the Sunday afternoon right outside where we were meeting!
I'd not made a skep before and often wondered about their construction. I'm no expert but Chris Park is and having done the course in conjunction with Bees for Development, I feel confident about making straw skeps.
During the day's tuition, some on a group basis; and some one-to-one as and when needed with helpful pointers from Chris. The course progresses from a bunch of people from various backgrounds and varied experience, some already beekeepers, some not. To an informal yet friendly group, all busy making skeps before the very tasty lunch, (suitable for veggies) and continuing to "feed the feeder" thereafter.
Chris is very knowledgeable about all things skep and the history of beekeeping & honey harvesting. A very interesting man to spend time with and to learn from. An amiable soul with a quiet confidence and energy. Who is easy to be with and who'll make you feel at ease, before and during your day of skep making.
I'd highly recommend a course tutored by Chris, even if you don't keep bees but especially if you do. And getting to spend time with a few of the very knowledgeable people of Bees for Development was the icing on the cake.