Hive of Activity

12-year old Daniel Peach helps settle the bees into their new home

Following the launch of the Duchy’s new Beekeeping Grant last year, a number of families across the country have taken up the challenge and are now actively keeping bees.

For many this is a real family affair, providing a great opportunity for the younger generation to learn about bee keeping and the importance of bees to the ecosystem. Claire and Steve Peach in Staffordshire, for example, look after their bees with their 12-year old son Daniel and have enjoyed taking the opportunity to learn something new together.

Cloughton resident Christine Fishburn originally applied for a grant because her grandson Joseph who lives with her was interested in learning how to keep bees. With the help and support of Christine’s neighbour Andy, 14-year old Joseph now has two busy, healthy hives on the go, as well as two more nucleuses for which they are actively looking for queens. They have already extracted over 20lbs of natural honey from their hives which they have been selling to local residents.

The Duchy of Lancaster Beekeeping Grant, which has been over-subscribed since its launch last year, is intended to support and encourage the learning of traditional skills, while also ensuring the long-term survival of the indigenous UK bee population. In the last 12 months it has provided funding as a contribution towards the cost of training, start-up equipment and bees with which to start honey production.

Commenting on the initiative, Duchy Chief Executive Nathan Thompson said: “As a major owner of agricultural land, the Duchy takes great care to ensure environmental sustainability across the estates. This might mean investing in green energy sources, supporting the diversification of our tenants’ businesses or encouraging the passing on of traditional skills to successive generations. This has been a great initiative in terms of engaging youngsters and teaching them how to look after a creature which is vital to the long-term survival of the ecosystem.”

Although the Grant scheme is now closed, interested tenants are free to contact the Duchy via their local agent to express their interest.