23 May 2023
The bee population has seen a dramatic decline over recent decades, so we’re very proud that Center Parcs Sherwood Forest has been helping to preserve their habitats for many years now.
Deep in the forest, quietly nestled away in a small orchard on a hill, are four beehives which are tended to by Kev Gustard and John Jepson, two of our Technical Services team who are trained beekeepers. At Sherwood the Buckfast bee is the species of choice, which is known for its excellent honey production skills. Did you know honey is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and has antibacterial and antifungal properties?
A recent sunny day gave Kev and John the ideal opportunity to visit the hives and check how the colonies were doing. They always make time to ensure the queen in each hive is healthy, the honey frames are in use and the bees are happily going about their business. Kev and John get togged up in their beekeeping suits before going close to the hives, and take along a smoking can just in case they need to smoke the bees out a little. To ensure as little disruption to the bees as possible, only two hives are inspected at each visit.
It will be a few months before any honey can be harvested from these hives but when it is, Kev and John hope to achieve around 100 jars of honey per month, using a simple spinning technique. Each jar is then offered to staff, who donate to the Bee Conservancy Charity and Center Parcs’ sponsored charity, Together for Short Lives.
Kev and John have a wealth of knowledge about bees which they were recently happy to share with a team of horticultural experts from a local hospital. The NHS colleagues wanted to observe hives in action and find out lots of hints and tips about beekeeping first hand before they brought beehives onto the grounds of their hospital.
Although the hives at Sherwood Forest aren’t based in an area that guests can access, we like to let you know about the support system going on behind the scenes. We’re proud to play our part in protecting these little insects which are so vital to the ecosystem of the forest and the wider environment.
Did you know these five facts about bees?