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!
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.
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.
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!
Dr Sharashkin is inspiring. He demonstrates very clearly how bees can be hived with their interests at the forefront yet still being able to share with them their honey. The deep frame hive is so logical when understanding the overwintering behaviour of the bee that it begs the question why is it not more common practice. I will be promoting this style of beekeeping from now. Excellent!
And thanks to Nicola and her team Bees for Development.
It was an excellent course. My main interest is keeping bees without treatment and here my main questions to Leo Sharashkin have been answered. Leo Sharashkin gave an entertaining and high coherent presentation which was easy to follow even if your mothertongue is not English.
The presentation will change my building of beehives and methods of beekeeping. I highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in alternative and sustainable beekeeping.
Incredibly thought-provoking course, Dr Sharashkin made us realise that sustainable beekeeping is very ‘do-able’, we don’t have to keep fiddling with our bees to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. I would recommend him and this course to anyone seeking a natural approach to keeping and helping bees. I would also commend Bees for Development for not only arranging this course, but also for their work in developing countries assisting people to enhance their lives through sustainable beekeeping
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Having already read "Keeping Bees with a Smile" and "Keeping Bees in Horizontal Hives" it was a no-brainer when I learned that Leo Sharashkin would be giving this course in the UK in November. The course lived up to all my expectations and his explanations of techniques for sustainable beekeeping were clear and thought provoking. In particular his treatment free approach will be my mission for 2018 with my colonies.
If this course is repeated in the future it would be beneficial to hold it in the active beekeeping season so practical session(s) in the Apiary could be used to reinforce the subject matter. I would recommend this course whole-heartedly to any beekeeper with an open mind.