Straw skep hive making course - with Bees for Development



Learn how to make a lip-work straw skep. You will make your skep from a long straw wheat with cane lapping. 

The course tutor, Chris Park, will explain how to split bramble and willow as needed. You will be able to make about one third of your skep during the day, and take home the skills, tools, and materials to finish off at home.

Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 8 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.

What's included in the price?

Course fee is £95 including all materials and tools, refreshments, and lunch.  (VAT included).


Giacomo Ciriello at Bees for Development


Yew Tree Inn

Suitable for

  • Suitable for beginners


1 day (9:30am to 4:30pm)

Platinum Badge
What does this mean?

This craft course provider has been awarded Platinum status for receiving 50 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.

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In-person course
David Matthews - - #33015

Loved it. Chris is a really skilled, knowledgeable and engaging teacher, and I feel as if I now have a skill for life. One of the most enjoyable courses I've ever done.

In-person course
Bridget - - #30710

I loved this course! Chris was a very skilled teacher - so gently showing and telling us how to make our skeps. And telling stories about bees, laced with life wisdom. Everyone was fully engaged, in a very good atmosphere, and made great progress.

In-person course
Alice - - #30620

I had a wonderful day, a great group and excellent instruction by Chris - a fountain of knowledge and a pleasure to be around. I felt i gained enough practice and knowledge to complete the skep at home. The food was excellent and an all round great way to spend a day.

In-person course
Damian Pinel - - #30435

An excellent course. Tutor very knowledgable, engaging and enthusiastic. The venue, Yew Tree Inn, was first class and this contributed to a really enjoyable day. The booking process is simple and the Bees for Development staff most helpful. Highly recommended.

In-person course
Adrian Vanderplank - - #30433

A really good day learning the history and how to make skeps, it's made me appreciate the time and skill that goes into making them. Great venue and the lunch was excellent.
Thanks again to Giacomo and Chris.

In-person course
Rachel Atiyah - - #28770

Only reason I didn't put excellent is because I wish we could have had longer! Great bee group, knowledgeable teacher with interesting stories to tell. As for the food.... delicious with the bonus of tasting the Perry (in the pub) made on the farm! Have yet to finish my skep, and feeling quite proud of how well it is forming/looking so far. Thanks Bees for Development .

In-person course
Giacomo - - #26392

Wonderful and inspirational day with Chris and three fellow students, all of whom lovely and full of interesting things to tell. It was my first time working with straw, which I really enjoyed. Amazing to witness a bundle of chaotic stalks transform into a tight, strong spiral. Chris is a well of wisdom and a master storyteller: lots to learn about bees, honey, health, skeps, ancient myths and more. Huge, diverse and delicious spread of dishes for lunch. Highly recommended to anyone who has an interest in beekeeping or just likes to work with their hands and an open mind.

In-person course
Kate Stallard - - #26391

I had the most fabulous and rewarding day. Great tuition with interesting conversation throughout. So pleased with my skep so far and feel confident that I can finish at home with the tools provided. Lunch was excellent. Highly recommend and looking forward to further courses.

In-person course
Heather Knowles - - #23086

What a fabulous day making a bee skep with Chris Park. He's enthusiasm for the subject was infectious and made the day so enjoyable. Whilst we worked away on our skeps he was feeding us with knowledge on skep bee keeping and its history. It gave me the confidence to easily finish off the skep at home. The venue was perfect with a break for lunch in the Yew Tree Inn with excellent food.

In-person course
Joan Leitch - - #23077

It was so much better having Chris as a guide, than trying to learn this skill from a book. It was also nice to have others around to chat to. An addictive pastime I think - we didn't want to stop for lunch! They also let us take the tools home so we could complete our skeps.

In-person course
Angela Benn - - #22970

A wonderful course. Chris is an inspiring and patient teacher. He not only passed on his skills as a skep-maker but also gave us an insight into the history of skeps and bee-keeping. Leaving with the basic skills, equipment and materials to finish my skep was brilliant. It was a great day spent with a group of very friendly, interesting people.
The lunch and cake were delicious! The day was very well organised and the surrounding countryside beautiful.

In-person course
Mandy Benton - - #22931

Inspirational teacher!
Great insight into historical bee keeping.
The day went too quickly.
Great to take home the knowledge and equipment to finish the skep.
Lovely group of people and superb lunch!
Many thanks to all involved.

In-person course
John Putley - - #22867

Fantastic hands-on course with extremely knowledgeable expert tutor, who not only demonstrated it to us en masse, but also came around individually as the day went on to see how we were getting along and helping correct any mistakes. No issue was too small and he was extremely patient.
I came away with a skill that I didn’t have when I arrived and an eagerness to do more.

In-person course
Mikka Styles - - #19824

I don't keep bees, and only had a vague intension to do so one day when my partner booked me on this course as a day of relaxation. It was excellent. I spent the day totally immersed in craftwork, led by the very knowledgable Chris Park, working alongside friendly people. The delicious and plentiful lunch also has to be given a mention. I came away resolved to finish my skep and one day harvest a little wild honey from it for my family.

In-person course
Hannah morris - - #16264

Brilliant course, really enjoyed the day. Very friendly welcome and lovely snacks and hot drinks provided throughout the day. The tutor was very good and explained the history and process of skep making very clearly. He came round the group through the day giving everyone extra help and advice. You then get to take it all away to finish. Lunch was delicious!

In-person course
Hannah Reeves - - #12846

Really enjoyed the course, instructions were easy to follow and there was a lot of freedom over the shape of our skeps. It was great to be able to take away the tools and materials needed to finish the skep at home.
We were well supplied with hot drinks and biscuits and lunch was excellent.
For anyone booking the course, don't go with the expectation of finishing the whole skep on the day!

In-person course
Terence Williams - - #12844

Very clear directions to the event and to the room on site. Met with hot drink and friendly chat which always starts the day right. Materials, tool all supplied, but straight in to preparing your straw in a group circle, so you could see the beginnings of the method of the skep. The day was followed with chat and presentation on straw, bees, and may other interesting subjects. I came away with the skills, knowledge to continue development of my skep. The Event was well organised with the right number of people.I would recommend this course.

In-person course
Andrew Collinson - - #12665

I really enjoyed the course. Lots of good tuition to get you started and making your skep. All the materials were provided in abundance as well as a specialist tool called a fid. These were for us to take away so that we could complete our skep at home. I now have a nearly completed swarm catching skep ready for the swarming season. I also intend making a couple of skeps to keep bees in.
Good food and refreshments too and a lovely relaxed atmosphere made this a very enjoyable and productive day. Many thanks to BfD and Nick.

In-person course
Peter Neville - - #9953

Great rural setting for this traditional craft. Nicola (Bees for Development) and Chris Park (Instructor) really made you feel welcome. The course was brilliant, very hands on and Chris added so much with his knowledge of all things bee and stories to match.
Excellent lunch, all in all a great way to learn about bees and skep making.

In-person course
Paula Foster - - #8024

Chris gave an excellent course - thoroughly enjoyable and the time simply flew! The 'hands on' instructions and demonstrations were excellent, as was the guidance during the making of the skeps.
The background and history to skep making was most interesting. All in all a very worthwhile course and I'd highly recommend it to anyone wishing to keep bees, especially in a sustainable way. Thanks to Chris and Bees for Development for making this possible.

In-person course
Heather Edwards - - #8006

I don't keep bees at the minute but would like to at some point in the future. In light of this I decided to make a traditional skep as they are beautiful objects, however I soon realised I needed expert advice!
The course run by Chris Park was excellent because he not only gave us the basics but he also added more complex techniques in as the day progressed. Excellent individual help too if needed and good advice, ensuring we came away at the end of the day feeling able to finish what we'd started. Chris also gave us interesting facts on skep making and bee keeping, including a power point presentation.

All materials were provided (which we could take away with us at the end of the day), tea and coffee throughout, a delicious lunch including home made cake! A great venue.
I can recommend this course to anyone wishing to make their first skep and anyone wishing to improve on skills already acquired. I thoroughly enjoyed my day.

In-person course
Beva - - #7975

Not only did the course provide a rounded practical hands on approach to Skep making it also included Chris a Master Skep Maker and his boundless knowledge of all things "Bee". So even if my Skep was not shaping up to be the exactly what was intended there was plenty of advice and riveting commentary to absorb.
A very motivational day.

In-person course
Laura D - - #7964

I was keen to learn some of the skills involved for wider use as well as getting to make a skep. The day did not disappoint. Chris is a good teacher who gradually introduced additional techniques through the day and offered plenty of individual help if needed. As we were sent away with all the rest of the materials required the only thing now stopping me from completing my skep is another day or so of my time and I feel confident about doing this. Plenty of parking, good food too (including vegetarian). I enjoyed the day and the skills learned.

In-person course
Ingo Scholler - - #7960

I had not made a skep before. Chris Park is an excellent teacher and everyone was able to master the basics. Tools and straw provided, ongoing help from Chris throughout the day. Chris is very knowledgable about skeps and beekeeping. He gave a comprehensive talk with PowerPoint slides which was very interesting. The venue was very good, including food and refreshments. Good company from fellow participants. I would unreservedly recommend this course to anyone wanting to make their first skep.

In-person course
Julie Gibbons - - #7957

Throughly enjoyed the course. It was very well directed, lots of interesting information about the history of skeps and bee keeping. The lunch was good and I thoroughly recommend this course to anyone who keeps bees or has an interest in keeping bees.

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