Princesshay Bees

Princesshay Bees, Exeter

The Princesshay Bee Project was the brainchild of Andy Littlejohns. Andy had been made aware of the decline of the honey bee through watching a television show and the impact that it has on the environment. Set up in 2012 on top of the Princesshay development in Exeter as part of an environmental project it has gone from strength to strength.

A beautiful garden awaits you as you step out of the lift that takes you to the roof. Well established plants, fruit trees and bushes dominate your eyeline. Take a very short walk to your left and that’s where the hard working honey bees live. Four hives with 60,000 bees working daily to create wonderful honey that’s available at Chandos Deli, on Roman Walk, down below. The proceeds are passed on to Age UK Exeter which is supporting our local community.

My guide for the morning was Jason Wallis of WeeTree Nursaries. He has a long history looking after bees at home as well as the Princesshay bees. I watched him check all the hives to make sure they are running smoothly and the Queen is happy and healthy. Which in turn keeps all the drones and workers happy. The hives were full of honey and the next harvest will take place on the 1st September. Soon after that the honey will be available for purchase at Chandos Deli. Beware! It sells out really quickly so get your skates on and get down there!

Beside the honey, Jason provides incredible knowledge for school groups, visitors and people just starting out in their own bee keeping. Many people come to learn from him and soak up his knowledge. Alongside my on my visit was Beverley who has her own hive at home. She visits weekly to learn from Jason and take home new information to create a happy environment for her own honey bees. It’s really rather lovely as Jason is a volunteer and loves what he does.

Jason and Andy welcome visitors to the project and if you would like to volunteer to be a Princesshay bee keeper you can contact the centre management team on 01392 459838. It really is a treat to have the opportunity to visit so give them a call to book your place. Visits normally happen on a Thursday morning and are free of charge.

I was lucky enough to have been given a couple of small pots of the honey which I look forward to opening and creating a yummy recipe in Tara’s Busy Kitchen.

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