Excellent presentation by Leo Sharashkin. He gave time for people to ask questions and take notes which was needed due to the amount of information provided. I will certainly be applying as many of the sustainable methods he suggested as I can.
Dr Sharashkin was excellent. It was one of the best courses I have attended on honey bees. The content was comprehensive and covered all the key aspects of the subject. His presentational style was superb, making complex aspects of the subject areas comprehensible. He is clearly committed to taking beekeeping a sustainable path and he was certainly inspiring in what he had to say. It will certainly change my approach to bee-keeping. It was fantastic to be able to hear such a well regarded US-based advocate of sustainable beekeeping here in the UK.
There was also plenty of opportunity for questions and discussion both during the formal sessions and also during the breaks. The course was well structured. I would recommend that anyone interested in treatment free beekeeping and keeping bees in horizontal hives should attend this course if it is repeated in the UK.
My only reservations concern the venue for the course. Parking was difficult. The external area immediately around the training room was muddy. This together with a 'no shoes' rule within the training room and also in the separate building where the toilets were located, resulted in constant changes of footwear - a nuisance in the middle of November. However, in all other respects the venue was good.
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.
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.
Beekeeping course attended a month ago was absolutely fantastic! All the tutors were passionate, incredibly generous with their knowledge and inspired me to order my first Warre hive after a couple of years of procrastination! The accommodation was fine, the food wonderful . Evening walks around Ragmans with other students were delightful & a great opportunity to share thoughts about the course. Would totally recommend the course .
The highlight was observing a swarm choosing the Warre hive to move into when all other hives were on display.
I would highly recommend this course, I had the most amazing weekend learning all about Bees and how to care for them. It was very informative and inspiring, offering good practical experience with the opportunity to open a hive and watch the bees at work, just amazing!
The accommodation was good and the food excellent all set in the beautiful Wye Valley.
I now feel confident enough to have a hive of my own.
Huge thank you. :)
I attended the course to gain as much insight into bees and beekeeping, and now feel confident enough to proceed further. The enthusiasm of the course providers was infectious and the way they imparted their knowledge was so informal and relaxed that it wasn't difficult to retain it over a busy weekend. Enough detail is provided to give a good understanding of all the processes involved and I came away feeling that any problems that arise in the future can be managed with a degree of confidence and some recommended reading.
Thoughly recommended, could not have been better.
I echo what Helen has said. I found it particularly useful to think of a colony of bees as having many of the characteristics of a small mammal. Some of the images used to illustrate the talks were particularly arresting eg that of a bee sting showing the long line of the bee's insides and the drone mating with the queen. I have never seen a Warre hive up close before and the swarm made a very clear choice in its favour. Top bar hives have long been a mystery to me and now I know how to make one.
I also very much enjoyed the company of the other course participants and interesting discussions continued into the evenings.
I found the course very informative and helpful. It gave me the confidence to review the way in which we'd been keeping our bees at our Community Farm up till now and to develop the skills to make what we are doing truly sustainable. It was also interesting to be able to look inside a Top Bar hive and to learn about bees in all their manifestations. We were very lucky to witness a swarm on the Sunday afternoon right outside where we were meeting!
I'd not made a skep before and often wondered about their construction. I'm no expert but Chris Park is and having done the course in conjunction with Bees for Development, I feel confident about making straw skeps.
During the day's tuition, some on a group basis; and some one-to-one as and when needed with helpful pointers from Chris. The course progresses from a bunch of people from various backgrounds and varied experience, some already beekeepers, some not. To an informal yet friendly group, all busy making skeps before the very tasty lunch, (suitable for veggies) and continuing to "feed the feeder" thereafter.
Chris is very knowledgeable about all things skep and the history of beekeeping & honey harvesting. A very interesting man to spend time with and to learn from. An amiable soul with a quiet confidence and energy. Who is easy to be with and who'll make you feel at ease, before and during your day of skep making.
I'd highly recommend a course tutored by Chris, even if you don't keep bees but especially if you do. And getting to spend time with a few of the very knowledgeable people of Bees for Development was the icing on the cake.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.