Saving the bees at Stoneleigh

Pictured at the apiary, from left to right, are Mike Roberts, Ian Burns, Jack Llewellyn, George Brown (BBKA) and Anish Mistry.
Pictured at the apiary, from left to right, are Mike Roberts, Ian Burns, Jack Llewellyn, George Brown (BBKA) and Anish Mistry.

Budding horticulturalists have set out their visions for a new apiary at the national home of beekeeping based in Warwickshire.

Horticulture students from Pershore College, near Evesham, have presented their ideas to transform the apiary at the National Beekeeping Centre at Stoneleigh Park.

They were set the design challenge by the British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) which is using a significant legacy from a Coventry beekeeper to fund the project aimed at encouraging a new generation of beekeepers.

A tree has been planted at the apiary, which is home to around 500,000 honey bees, in memory of James Henry Hopkins who wanted his gift be used to benefit educational work.

The BBKA plans to open up the apiary to local schoolchildren and community groups to educate them about the importance of bees and beekeeping. It also plans to remodel its adjacent headquarters to create indoor learning facilities.

Leigh Sidaway, General Manager, at the BBKA, said: “We are really impressed with the designs that the students have come up with. They have obviously put in a lot of thought and research into their designs.

“We deliberately gave them a very wide brief and they have each delivered quite different concepts. We are now going to evaluate the designs and gather feedback from our steering group.”

The second year students, Ian Burns, Jack Llewellyn and Anish Mistry, undertook the task as part of their BSc Horticulture course. The brief included providing a building for visitors to view the colonies, a sensory area and bee-friendly planting.

Mike Roberts, garden design lecturer at Pershore College, part of WCG college group in Warwickshire and Worcestershire, said: “Working on this project for the British Beekeepers’ Association has been an exciting challenge for the students.

“This is the first ‘live’ design project for the students working with a real client and has meant learning new skills such as Computer Aided Design, 3D drawing techniques as well as interpreting the requirements of the client.

“They have all produced some imaginative and innovative designs and from working with them, it has been clear that this has been an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.

“Pershore College has a longstanding relationship with BBKA so it was a pleasure to be able to work with them on this exciting new development.”

PICTURE CAPTION: Pictured at the apiary, from left to right, are Mike Roberts, Ian Burns, Jack Llewellyn, George Brown (BBKA) and Anish Mistry.