Bees for Development Sustainable Beekeeping weekend Course
Contact course provider
About the Course
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.
If booking with a CraftCourses voucher for part or all of the course fee, please fill in the contact form above or telephone us. Your voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.
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.
My family bought me a place on the Sustainable Bee-keeping Weekend course in April 2018. I found the course really inspiring, not only in Bee-keeping but in my understanding of the natural world. The course facilitators were absolutely wonderful, so passionate, knowledgeable and friendly. The presentations were excellent and gave an in-depth guide into the world of bees, from the bee's minute perspective to environmental, economic and geopolitical factors and everything in between! The practical demonstrations with bees, hives, products and hive-making were very good. The opening of hives is weather dependent due to the harm this can do to the bees, thankfully the conditions were just about ok for our group.
Our course was held at Ragman's Lane farm which is a wonderful venue with many lovely B&Bs and Inns nearby. The food provided was plentiful and delicious, I've taken a couple of the recipes to enjoy at home.
I would highly recommend this course if you are currently bee-keeping or have an interest in doing so. Some of the attendees had been bee-keeping for several years but still found the course to be very eye-opening. I left the course feeling confident that I could successfully keep bees.
Thanks so much to Nicola, Janet, Monica, Ingo and Donna.
Gary McKillion - - #15954
A well-run, highly informative weekend course, set in a very pleasant location. The enthusiastic tutors managed to put over a wealth of information in a highly digestible way...and the food was great!
Clive Roe - - #14421
This was an excellent course which was eye opening, thought provoking, very well delivered and enjoyable.
I have been keeping bees for about 4 years and I wish that I had attended the course before starting. I have been a conventional beekeeper and increasingly concerned about the sustainability of what I was doing and the course has shown me a much better way of operating. It will certainly lead to a change in the way I am going to keep bees from now on and I have already started on the construction of two top bar hives after sending back a couple of Nationals that I had just bought from Thornes.
A big thank you to all involved. Wonderful food.
Jon Arrenberg - - #14308
A fantastic immersive weekend learning about bees, their society and what they need from nature to continue pollinating a third of the world's food.
The five tutors presented an incredible bank of knowledge and insight and even taught us how to build our own hive.
I have left the course enthused to learn more and already making a plan about how and where to keep bees, and also how to advocate for bees to my local council, county council, fellow gardeners and neighbours.
It became apparent through the course how different the sustainable approach to beekeeping is vis-a-vis other more interventionist approaches, and how modern farming methods can be so destructive. So, thank you Bees for Development; I am glad to have started my journey with bees, with you.
Hannah Sheppard - - #14283
A wonderful course with every opportunity to ask questions. I have come away from it with a plan on where to start with keeping bees, and even how to make the hive I want. Brilliant course I fully recommend.
Jo Egglestone - - #14263
As a complete novice with regard to anything concerning bees, I found the relaxed yet highly informative atmosphere, generated by all of the speakers, exceptionally good and perfectly conducive to an ideal learning experience.
The messages were clear and concise. Clearly the need for sustainable bee keeping needs to be spread throughout the bee keeping fraternity. I personally will be following the BfD way and have already recommended the course to friends and neighbours.
Finally, a huge thank you to Donna for an excellent lunch on both days. Keep up the good work.
Clive Russell - - #14258
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.
Rae Gervis - - #9087
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. :)
Debbie da Rosa - - #8843
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.
Steve Bergel - - #8834
A very informative weekend, with a friendly group of people, in charming surroundings.
Matthew. - - #8821
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.
Louise Jutsum - - #8819
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!
Helen English - - #8816
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.
D. Cheung - - #8625
Review this course
Course Start Dates
Course dates are flexible; please get in touch for the next available date.
This craft course provider has been awarded Gold status for receiving 10 or more 5 star ratings from previous students.
The Students' Choice award ensures that course providers get recognised for their efforts in the teaching and practice of UK craft.
They also allow tutors to gain valuable feedback on their courses and for new students to find the course that's right for them.