The Club needs your help to move the Apiary

The club met with the National Trust (NT) at Shugborough on the October 6th 2021. Present were: Hayley Mival, General Manager NT, Helen Royall, Project Manager NT, Caroline Beacall, Head Gardener NT, Alan Greenman, Ed Bennett, Claire George and Jo Berriman.

It was a good positive meeting with the NT where they outlined their Shugborough Estate plan for the next five years.

They said that the south walled garden adjacent to the apiary needs extensive repairs to the wall, requiring scaffolding to be erected.

As this is planned to start early to mid November 2021 the NT asked us to move the hives away from the the wall.

As the rest of the planned site changes will also affect the apiary. Helen Royall the NT Project Manager suggested that we should consider relocating the apiary for the duration of the scheme. After discussing the options it was agreed to re-locate the apiary to the Kennels.

This will meet the club needs for the next 2-3 years when the apiary will move back to its present site with much improved facilities and storage.

Moving the apiary will be a big challenge for us. With your help we plan to do this work over the next few weeks. We will then be ready to run the apiary in its proposed new location for the next two years.
See below for the proposed schedule of work needed to re-locate the apiary to the paddock area on the Kennels site.

Your help with this will be very much appreciated. We will email the latest information on working party dates and times. Keeping the apiary fit for purpose and safeguarding the bees is very important. Please come along and help us over the next three weekends
starting on 23/24th October and continuing as needed on the 30/31st October and 6/7th November.

Remember to bring appropriate outdoor wear including gloves and boots and PPE with you along with the usual garden tools.

We will be clearing the ground, cutting down trees, trimming hedges and moving equipment, the marquee and our newly purchased shed. A lot of work for us to do in a very short time.

The Paddock – now!

Shugborough Apiary re-location plan October – November

Week 1

Saturday 23rd

• Box up container equipment & store in marquee
• Equipment regarded as not essential to be taken to Sure Store
• The Kennels car port to be cleaned & the roof growth to be removed
• Foliage surrounding car port area to be cut back
• Hardstanding to be cleaned or jet washed
• Work to start on clearing main paddock area, members bring the necessary equipment with them
• Cut back the identified trees to stump level where directed
• Close up & prepare the 5 hives & Nucs for temporary re-siting at The Lodge

Please see additional information within, notes below from our joint meeting with the National Trust on October 6th 2021

Sunday 24th

• Clive has kindly offered the use of one of his trailers to transport hives & Nucs to The Lodge
• If car port is cleared transport equipment from new shed over to The Kennels
• Transport generator & lawn mower to The Kennels
• Continue to transport equipment from stores to car port at The Kennels or utilise marquee as a holding bay
• Dismantle new shed and transport to The Kennels
• Bonfire to burn rubbish

Week 2

Saturday 30th

Shed to be moved and re-erected at The Kennels

• Pick up and continue with any outstanding tasks not completed
• Dayna has kindly offered the services of ‘Big Bertha’ (large rotary mower) to continue with paddock clearing
• Erect new shed
• Lift & transport redundant concrete slabs from existing apiary to The Kennels
• Identify where hives are going to be sited at The Kennels and lay slabs
• Empty old shed and dismantle for burning
• Bonfire

Sunday 31st

• Pick up and continue with any outstanding tasks not completed
• Remove & bag base & grit from former location of new shed
• Bonfire

Week 3 – November

Saturday 6th

• Pick up and continue with any outstanding tasks not completed
• Contents of dirty store to be transported to The Kennels
• Close up hives at The Lodge ready to transport to The Kennels on Sunday
• Close up & prepare remaining hives at “old” apiary site ready to transport to The Lodge on Sunday

Sunday 7th

• Transport hives from The Lodge to The Kennels
• Transport hives from “old” apiary to The Lodge
• Task mop up
• Remove metal Harris fences (clean and dirty stores) & transport to The Kennels
• Remove remaining redundant slabs and transport to The Kennels
• Final tidy up and Bonfire

Notes from our joint meeting with the National Trust on October 6th 2021

The Vision for the Shugborough Estate Project:
• It was stated that the club apiary is an integral part of the Shugborough estate and the Walled Garden and that South Staffordshire and District Beekeeping Association has a future at Shugborough

• Overview of the new car park, infrastructure changes and the Walled Garden project shared

Project time frames – the wall project:
• Scaffold being put up end of October / early November with the Walled Garden Apiary site being set up last of all (likely to be early November). Scaffold needs 4 metres of clearance from wall base

Apiary long term needs & wants:
• Outdoor facilities – water and electric and toilet facilities close to apiary
• Indoor facilities – room for training and meeting, away from apiary, changing, toilet and kitchen facilities
Agreed that the vision for the Plant Centre would work (will include shower facilities).
• Storage – secure, lockable, undercover, some of which needs to be in close proximity to the apiary, a lean-to style shed to be sited in a location along the wall within the apiary, design and final location to be confirmed
• Training site with potential for several hives open at once must be closed to public
• Access – level open area with vehicular and easy access. Good and convenient car parking
• Location – current aspect is ideal (in Walled Garden area) and will work in the future
• Interpretation – to be included in future designs.
• Apiary to be presentable.
• As many mature trees as possible to be retained for the bees and more mature orchard tree planting for size variation.
• Boundary line – park railings with a hedge mix e.g. hawthorn, field maple, holly mix

Apiary – temporary location:
• The choice of temporary apiary locations was discussed and confirmed as the paddock area at the Kennels
• The needs and wants of the club during this time period were agreed
• The outdoor spaces at the Kennels were agreed on as the temporary location for the apiary

Additional information:
• The Kennels Cottage is not available for use.
• The club has no access to the sheds, garage or cottage garden (within the walls and shown in red on the map above)
• There needs to be clear access at all times in front of the cottage, along the track to the cottage, to the double gates into the productive garden, apiary paddock and glasshouse complex (shown in yellow on the map)
• Areas defined on the map for storage are shown in purple, parking (blue) and apiary (green)
• The temporary site at the Kennels will only be available as a location for the club apiary whilst the walled garden undergoes repairs to the walls and while the infrastructure project associated with the car park and Walled Garden is completed
• Following the completion of these infrastructure and wall projects, the club apiary will return to the Walled Garden area
• National Trust agreed to provide water, electricity, outside lighting and ‘portaloo’ for the club within the designated apiary area
• Locations identified for the bee hives and car parking with hardstanding earmarked for the marquee and storage shed

It was agreed that the current license would be extended to 2 years to cover the move of the apiary to the temporary site at the Kennels paddock area pending a review on when it can return to the walled garden area in October 2023.

Practical considerations:
• Transport required for moving hives. shed and equipment from existing apiary to new location
• Clearing and preparation of the Kennels area before the apiary can move in
• Dismantle old apiary and remove container

Join us at the BBQ…

Please come and join us for our summer social Barbeque on 21st August from
4pm till 7pm at our apiary at Hilton Green (Hilton Green, Hilton Lane, Essington
WV11 2BG).

It’s well overdue and we’re really excited at this great opportunity to catch-up and share stories accompanied with some really tasty food and drink.
We’ll also be celebrating the fantastic success of members who have taken exams and practical assessments – for these members (that can make it) we’ll be handing out their BBKA certificates; so please come along to give them a well deserved
round of applause.

We will be providing the usual barbeque fare: burgers, sausages, pulled pork and vegetarian options, buns, quiches, salads, etc. along with soft drinks. Tea and coffee will be available to purchase. For those that like an alcoholic drink you are welcome to bring your own. And for dessert we encourage members to bring cake to share with others.

Club members’ family and friends are welcome as well. We would appreciate it if you could let us know in advance if you can make it and how many people you’re bringing, so we can cater accordingly.

Tickets priced at £5 will be on sale at Shugborough on the Thursdays and Saturdays
before the Barbeque.

Payment Methods
Cheque, BACS or direct payment.
If you wish to pay by BACS, account details are:
Bank: CAF Bank Ltd
Account Name: South Staffordshire & District
Beekeepers Association
Account Number: 00095894 • Sort Code: 40 52 40
using reference: BBQ your name
Or pay cash on the day!

How to get there
Hilton Green is just south of M6 Junction 11 at the location labelled Forest of Mercia.
There is free parking on the site. We have use of the large polytunnel, so if the weather is poor, we can socialise (at an appropriate distance) under cover.

Looking forward to seeing you there,
Ed Bennett – SS&DBKA Secretary

In the SPOTLIGHT – Club Secretary Ed Bennett

Q1. How long have you been a beekeeper?
A. Since August 2019, just over a year.

Q2. Why did you become a beekeeper?
A. At SS&DBKA: After attending the club’s Honeybee Experience Day in June ’18, I knew beekeeping was for me and enrolled in the 2019 Beginners Beekeeping Course; 6 weeks evening lectures, followed by 6 weekend apiary sessions, where I learnt how to handle the bees, passed quickly. I bought a nucleus of bees from the club. Bringing the bees to my apiary is when it became real.

Q3. What is your favourite bit of beekeeping kit?
A. My J-Type hive tool.

Q4. How many bee suits do you have?
A. Two: My first was a lightweight khaki suit from Simon the Beekeeper. I later bought a mesh breathable bee suit at the 2019 National Honey Show.

Q5. What is your proudest beekeeping moment?
A. Being elected to be the club’s secretary in 2020.

Q6. Do you have a favourite pair of socks?
A. Yes. Thin horizontal stripes in pink and blue.

Q7. Who is your beekeeping hero or heroine?
A. I don’t have one yet – but everyone whom I’ve met so far or listened to in beekeeping has been genuinely fun, easy going and interesting; there are many characters with the potential.

Q8. What beekeeping disasters have you had?
A. After successfully overwintering my first nucleus, in the spring something didn’t seem right. Knowledge gained from my course helped me to quickly diagnose that I had laying workers. All was not lost though, the club put me in touch with a kindly beekeeper who sold me a new colony and delivered it quickly despite the covid pandemic.

Q9. Which aspect of beekeeping do you like best?
A. I really like the variety and diversity of areas related to beekeeping and feeling more in touch with the weather and seasons.

Q10. What is your least favourite beekeeping job?
A. I don’t really like smoking or shaking bees to conduct disease inspections.

Q11. If you didn’t keep bees, would you be a campanologist or a Morris dancer?
A. Probably not. If I wanted to do either I’d be doing it!

Q12. What would be your best bit of beekeeping advice?
A. As I’ve just started out, I’d say if you’re interested give it a go. I wish I had started earlier. Don’t be afraid to ask questions as there’s lots to learn.

Q13. What would your last meal be?
A. A Thai red curry, with some wok fried greens and an ice-cold beer.

Q14. What is your favourite bit of a bee?
A. I like the really hairy bits on the head, eyes and thorax.

Q15. When you think about your bees, what makes you smile?
A. The buzz of the bees and the smell of wax.

Q16. Do you like honey?
A. Yes, especially set honey on a nice slice of fresh white bread, or drizzled over a bowl of yogurt.

Q17. What annoys you about bees (apart from the stings)?
A. Nothing, it’s not the bees, it’s the weather!

Q18. Do you talk to your bees?
A. Doesn’t every beekeeper?

Q19. How often are you asked to stop talking about bees?
A. No-one’s asked me to yet; it’s either early days, or I’m just talking to the right people.

Q20. Do you prefer sweet or savoury nibbles?
A. Savoury although once they’ve gone, I’ll also eat all the sweets!

Q21. What other interests do you have besides

A. Casual running, fishkeeping, watching YouTube: Sailing La Vagabonde, Currently Hannah in Japan, and Tucker Gott: Paramotoring – plus too many beekeeping channels to mention.

Q22. Who would you like to inspect a hive with?
A. I often inspect my hive with my best friend (Jess, my wife).

Q23. What sums up your attitude to bees and beekeeping?
A. It’s the best pastime I’ve ever taken up, bees and the beekeepers are the best!

2021-22 Committee elected

The SSDBKA AGM was held on Thursday 28th of March and the following were elected to form the new committee:


  • President: Stuart Roberts
  • Chair: Alan Greenman
  • Treasurer: Julie Hamer
  • Secretary: Ed Bennett

Additional Committee members

  • Claire George – (Membership)
  • Clive Stewart – (AHAT)
  • Dayna White – (Quartermaster)
  • Phil Atkin – (Events)
  • Jo Berriman – (Comms)
  • Russell Barlow – (Health & Safety)
  • Vacant – (Apiary Coordinator)
  • Vacant – (Events Coordinator)

There are currently spaces on the committee which can be filled by co-opting additional members if required.