Bees are not only essential to the environment (60% of food plants depend on honey bees for pollination) but these highly sophisticated insects are also a real pleasure to keep. Keep me informed >
This one day course is a complete introduction, giving you a taste of what is involved and helping you to understand the whole beekeeping process, before you fully commit to keeping bees yourself.
The course will be led by David Wiscombe, a local beekeeping expert who has been keeping bees for over 50 years. David has been mentoring Catherine Bugler, here at Park Farm for the last few years.
Arrive: Tractor ride down to the farm
Welcome: Meet your hosts and tutors David Wiscombe and Catherine Bugler over a morning tea or coffee and tasty River Cottage treats.
Session one: We will begin in the farmhouse where David will go through the fundamental facts around beekeeping, from recognising the honey bee, through to equipment needed and why we should keep bees.
Session two: This is the first of our two practical sessions. We aim to give you a chance to examine a bee hive and learn about safety and beekeeping etiquette. In the first session, we take you to a local apiary, which have small colonies of bees, to ease you in!
Lunch: We return to RCHQ for lunch. At River Cottage food is very much the focus and you will have a sumptuous two course lunch of local seasonal fare prepared by the River Cottage team.
Session three: Here we walk up to the River Cottage apiary for more hands on practical experience.
Session four: We return to the farmhouse, where David will show you the numerous products you can make out of a hive (floor wax, facial cream, etc) and how to get started on the road to beekeeping, with lots of useful advice and tips.
Everyone will go home with a set of course notes.
This is a guide to the activities that will make up your course at River Cottage. This is by no means set in stone, as we may need to change the order of the day or the length of the practical if the weather is poor.
Location: This course is run from River Cottage HQ on the Dorset/Devon borders. Full address details of HQ will be provided once you have booked.
Wine/drink: We are a licensed venue. We have a wide selection of the finest organic wines.
Accommodation: If you need local accommodation please click here.
Age: We would advise that this course is only really suitable for 12 years of age and upwards. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. We put these guidelines in place for the safety, comfort
and enjoyment of all our guests.
Time: 10.00am - 5.00pm
Keep me informed
If you are interested in joining us at River Cottage for a course or event, please let us know. We will send you new dates when they become available, special offers on last minute tickets and let you know about the new courses we are developing. Just hit the button below and let us know what you're interested in.
“Thanks for such a lovely day. Absolutely fantastic. I’ve filled in your quick questionnaire below. Can I say an especial thanks to Dave and Kat for looking after us so well and to all the other staff for being so friendly and answering all my sometimes random questions. Look forward to having the opportunity of coming back one day. food? Brilliant, loved the egg and bacon salad. staff? Outstanding, very friendly and very helpful and informative. course content was good and that the facilities were adequate? The course was great and facilities likewise. value for money? Yeah I think it was great, especially with the lunch and drinks etc… meet your expectations and would you come back? Yes it did, even exceeded them I think. I would love to come back. “
“I had a great day with you today. Your booking service was first class, food A1, and all the staff were very friendly. The course was extremely informative for the money and certainly gave you the taste needed to realising if bee keeping was for you!! I will definitely be keeping an eye on future courses and will attend the mushroom foraging with my other half next year. Thanks again for a great day”
“The course was extremely good in all ways: service, food, quality of information, experienced gained. Thoroughly enjoyed it and feel very privileged to have been with someone with so much experience. The combination of David (50 years experience) and Cat (on her 2nd season) was very helpful, because it shows you what you can achieve in a short space of time – not so daunting!!”
“pre booking service? V. Good. food? V. Good, …..but hey everything else was good. staff? Perfect, everyone was very friendly and helpful, Cat is lovely and glad she was there as david would not have coped at the hives with 12 people. course content was good and that the facilities were adequate? Yes, you could run through a dummy hive before you go out to the real ones. Facilities very good. value for money? Yes. meet your expectations and would you come back? Yes I would, you could do follow on courses, intermediate or advanced though. I am working with an events company in another business (white pursuits in Ilfrcombe) and I have recommended they run events at RCHQ so they will be contacting you. I intend holding my birthday party with you next year and I will buy other days as gifts. We will also be doing the bread making course.”
“We really enjoyed our day and learned so much. It was an excellent course and all aspects were handled in a relaxed but professional and purposeful way. the pre booking service was easy and re-assuring in the contact that was maintained between booking and the actual course - there was a long lead in! The food was excellent and lived up to our expectations, which were high! Service was subtle but professional, we were well looked after. the course content, in particular the amount of time spent hands on, was very good - we left feeling we'd learnt heaps and couldn’t wait to get back to have a go! Many thanks to Cat and Dave for such a well thought out day. Yes I did feel it was value for money. I'd love to come back again and have oozed enthusiasm about it to friends. Even my employer who let me have a special day off teaching to come is looking for a course to book!”
The topic of bee keeping (the hum of buzzing bees) bring back childhood memories of swinging languidly in a hammock (to escape the extreme heat) in the shade under the house, as is common in the tropics. Right next to my ear hung 2 boxes, from which bees flew in and out to collect pollen. It was actually my brother, who removed the swarm that settled outside an office building - out of curiosity. My mother (bless her brave heart) used very basic tools to collect the juicy, golden honeycombs. Armed, simply with a wicker hat, over which she put a fishing net that she secured round her waist; and helped by smoke from a fire close by, to drive the bees out, she casually put her gloved hands into the boxes. Just like that! :-)