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 .
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.
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.
I attended Dr Leo Sharashkin's 2day natural beekeeping course in Monmouth and am so happy I did. It was amazing, he really knows how to convey the importance of a natural approach to beekeeping. He is a very good speaker, interactive with the class and has a lot of scientific evidence to back up his own observations. I am certainly keen to try using a horizontal hive next year and this course gave me the confidence to go ahead and change my approach to beekeeping.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.