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.
Gill Horrocks - - #25259
Most enjoyable weekend. Covered a lot, the time flew by!
Maria - - #25257
An inspirational course! Dr Leo Sarashkin delivers a most uplifting and engaging lecture combining the complex science with the gritty practicalities... reconciling the ideal world of beekeeping with the realistic limitations of the humble beekeeper battling to do their best! I have come away from the course preparing to start a horizontal hive apiary following his ethos. A wonderful course... much recommended!
Vicki GARRATT - - #25258
I attended Leo Sharashkin's course for the second time in 2019. He brought new insights and evidence to his approach and is generously interactive with attendees. He is one of the best tutors I have ever come across in any subject and the bees are fortunate to have his knowledgeable advocacy!
Gill Horrocks - - #25252
The course was excellent.
The information fascinating.
Delivered in a relaxed organised manner with a good balance of practical and theory.
Owen - - #23927
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.
Sarah Shuffell - - #23074
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'.
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.
Lesley Rhodes - - #23071
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.
Heather Knowles - - #23086
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.
Joan Leitch - - #23077
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.
Angela Benn - - #22970
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.
Mandy Benton - - #22931
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.
John Putley - - #22867
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.
Mikka Styles - - #19824
This course really enhances your knowledge and gives you a broader perspective on WHY natural beeping should be a consideration for beekeepers.
The presentations were well thought through and the presenters used data from sources that are reliable.
On reflection had I attended this course before becoming a beekeeper many mistakes could have been avoided.
Upon returning from the course I completely changed my approach to what I was doing and this gives me confidence in taking a natural and sustainable approach to beekeeping in the future.
May Philpott - - #17526
A useful and informative course at a very nice location. Like many others I had been shown the modern (industrial) way of keeping bees, which felt at odds with my ethics regarding animal welfare. The sustainable bee keeping course provided the information to show that keeping bees could be done in a way sympathetic to the bees. The instructors each had their own views and this helped to create an overall balanced programme.
Karl Wills - - #17351
Being new to bee keeping, I thought a course would be the best place to start. Choosing a course was a challenge due to so many available. This course stood out based on the sustainability side of things. It did not disappoint, the course was really informative in all areas. Nothing was mandated, it was all fact based (backed up with scientific evidence) and really has made me stop and think about the importance of balance. The course location was excellent, as were all of the people who covered the subjects. Highly recommend this course if new to bee keeping or very experienced - plenty to think about and learn from.
Brian Watson - - #17337
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!
Hannah morris - - #16264
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
This is the second course I have attended where Dr Sharashkin was the Speaker and Trainer. Again, it was excellent. I started keeping some of my honey bees in horizontal hives last year. So this Course enabled me to learn some of the more detailed points of the techniques involved, whilst also providing a refresher on the overall principles. Dr Sharashkin's detailed practical and scientific knowledge is superb. I came away with a comprehensive list of improvements that I will be making to how I manage my bees both in horizontal hives and in conventional vertical hives. The techniques taught on the Course are the foundation stones for ethical and sustainable beekeeping for the future. I would recommend this Course to anyone who questions conventional beekeeping techniques and wants to learn about alternative bee-centred alternatives.
Selwyn Runnett - - #15665
The weekend course with Dr Leo was a superb lesson in how to live with bees in a sustainable and mutually beneficial way. I had read 'Keeping bees with a smile' and was very interested in the deep frames in the Lazutin hives, and this workshop showed how deep frames are the most logical and bee friendly way to keep bees and give them the best chance for overwintering in our climate.
It was good to spend time with others who want to move away from the industrialised methods of bee keeping with the high number of interventions required, and move towards the bee-centric way.
I would reccommend this course to anyone interested in bees as well as beekeeping, and thank Bees for Development for putting on this weekend, and providing a tasty and satisfying lunch each day.
And as a bonus, Dr Leo's honey is absolutely delicious!
Susan King - - #15605