Willow skep hive (Alveari) making - with Bees for Development



Learn how to make a willow skep, where expert Chris Park will teach you how to weave a wicker skep, and how to cover it with cloom.  During the day all aspects of beekeeping in skeps, ancient and modern will be discussed.

Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 2 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.

What's included in the price?

The course cost includes all materials needed to weave your wicker skep.  Covering your skep with cloom is optional! 

Please bring a waterproof apron and secateurs, and a bucket if you prefer to plaister your new skep at home.
Included are materials and refreshments, and VAT.

Lunch is not included but is available locally.


Giacomo Ciriello at Bees for Development


Yew Tree Inn

Suitable for

  • Parking provided
  • Suitable for beginners


6½ hours (9:30am to 4:00pm)

Platinum Badge
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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
Jane - - #31073

What a wonderful day; even more special during these challenging times to learn something new and meet people. Chris was incredibly knowledgable, explaining the history and folklore around skeps, and generous with his hands on help to help my first ever attempt at willow weaving be nudged into a bee home! We were given a bucket of clum and today I have plastered it and intend to make another one as soon as possible so I don’t forget the techniques learned on the day. It was also great to have Giacomo from Bees for Development on tbe workshop and he shared with us the fantastic work that they do. The lovely friendly ladies from Yew Tree pub provided the most delicious cake and huge lunch and the venue was perfect. I also was delighted to buy some cider to take home along with the skep. My only suggestion, would be a brief handout to help us remember the techniques and also where we can get willow and how to make clum.

In-person course
Gill Horrocks - - #25259

Exciting, practical course — and you get to take home your own willow skep! Chris Parks is an excellent and expert teacher with vast patience. I had never done any willow weaving before so the entire process was new to me. Discovering the history of willow weaving was fascinating in its own right. I hope a swarm will choose my skep as its home next Spring.

In-person course
Sarah Shuffell - - #23074

The course was well organised and run and the food and venue very good. A nice informal atmosphere and friendly tutor. I am a basket maker and so joined the course in order to learn how to make and apply clum, not for the weaving skills. I came all prepared, as requested in the briefing notes, but sadly we did not cover this on the day and I was disappointed. This is not to detract from the overall experience and the group made and finished some lovely baskets but for me it did not fulfil my needs or meet the course description. Some supporting handouts on bee keeping in skeps would have been helpful.

Response from Bees for Development:

Dear Sarah, thank you for joining our course and for your review. On last week's course our tutor Chris had been unable to access the right materials to plaister the hives and therefore could not demonstrate this technique, although Chris did bring a finished hive to show you, and he did describe how to do this, and discuss various different 'recipes'.
We invite you to come along to the next Willow Skep Course on Sunday 6 October in Monmouth when Chris will be able to show you how to do this. You could also view our video which shows the technique in Uganda which can be found in the Resource Centre section of our website.
Kind regards, Nicola Bradbear

In-person course
Lesley Rhodes - - #23071

I really enjoyed the day. Chris was very informative and helpful. He had a lot of patience and explained the skep making very well. A suggestion would be a hand out, to refer to, on making the cloon to cover the skep in the future.
The food was excellent, as was the venue.
A relaxed and happy atmosphere.

In-person course
M Groves - - #13096

A very enjoyable introduction to weaving a willow skep. Sound instructions were given with a nice balance of support and experiential learning was maintained throughout the course. Would recommend to any one interested in learning about these more traditional methods.

In-person course
Hugh - - #12968

I really enjoyed the day.

The pace of the day was good, plenty of coffee/biscuits, and lovely food in the Yew Tree Inn for lunch. All the participants were friendly and encouraging. Chris was very helpful and supportive, giving plenty of advice, and “nudging” my work back into shape on several occasions!

I was very pleased to leave with a skep - maybe not perfectly circular, but nonetheless a perfect home for bees, serendipitously about 40 litres in volume. We were given the option between two types of skep - given the option again, as a novice, I think I would choose to make the simpler design out of the two offered, to end up with a better quality finish. I hope to utilise the skills learned on the day in the future.

In-person course
Karen - - #12941

I attended the skep making course with my daughter and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Chris skilfully took us through the steps to the end, helping us produce 2 beautiful skeps. It was a lovely workshop with delicious food in a lovely place and good company.

In-person course
Jeanne and John Rayment - - #9549

We both thoroughly enjoyed the day. It was our first time working with willow but we found Chris was really helpful and obviously worked very hard at helping everyone. We also liked hearing about the history of skeps and bee keeping in the past. It has really opened a door for us in regards to learning more about natural bee keeping.
I would definitely recommend this course for those wishing to have hands on experience in making something from the past but which they can use for their bees today.

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