Beekeeping in Dorset

One of the things we’ve missed since taking on the Weymouth house restoration project is the bees. In Martinstown, just outside Dorchester we had our own hive in the front garden – wonderful for observing the little critters and very easy for working on the hives – but our seaside renovation means we ‘re bee-less this year (there are still loads of Bees in Weymouth – though not in our garden!)

beekeeping in DorsetSo many of our vintage tea parties and garden parties are outside in the summertime – hearing the buzzing is one of the few simple free pleasures left so we’re very happy to shout about them a bit!

Hunting wild honey is an ancient practice – but beekeeping itself – farming bees for honey production using traditional “skeps” or hives also goes back as far as ancient Egypt. As a tradition, beekeeping has to be one of the oldest there is.

In Dorset we have a healthy number of British Beekeeper Association affiliated clubs where you can learn about beekeeping and get lots of experience in hive and honey. There’s something very British about the white suited beekeepers in the garden though slightly alien looking when they gather en-masse. (Steve is in the middle of the picture wearing the yellow marigold gloves – not the same ones he wears when washing up our vintage china though!!)beekeepers meeting Dorchester

Steve and I got involved in the Dorchester and Weymouth branch – under the tutelage of our friend Jenny Eddisson and the well known Dorset Beekeeper Chris Slade. Chris’s Bee Blog is one of the best to follow for really detailed observation of hives and the problems you might encounter.

a demijohn of meadOf course the benefits of beekeeping include all of the gorgeous honey, candles and other products like MEAD. This Vintage was made in 2009 and drunk at the annual beekeepers gathering. We love the golden colour and honey taste.

Wax candles are another product from honeycomb and smell gorgeous – but PLEASE don’t use candles in teacups. Beeswax or otherwise, we see this all over the place and it simply ruins the china. Though some people say you can use the teacups afterwards, we’ve not found this to be the case. If we are to conserve our vintage teacup heritage (and still use them for drinking from) then we need to use cups as they were intended (not just for decoration!). Do you want one lump of sugar in your waxy tea or two?

If you’re interested in bees or joining  a Dorset group to find out more then the Dorchester and Weymouth Beekeepers Association is a great place to start – happy honeying!


Published by vdorset, on 4th June 2011 at 6:53 am. Filled under: Vintage Activities,Vintage Events,Vintage Food Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , Comments Off on Beekeeping in Dorset