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Our Apiary

Our club apiary is a beautiful and tranquil location very close to central Lancaster. It is a perfect location in which to keep bees in an urban environment. There is parking, a queen rearing area using our own Lune Valley Long Hives, hives of bees, a wildflower meadow and woodland, multiple swarm boxes / traps, a club house and storage facility.

At the apiary club members meet and manage the site in an environmentally friendly way, we have training for people who want to learn how to keep bees, and more advanced sessions and workshops. Our open day is held here where the public can buy local honey, beehives and wax products, learn about honey bees, talk to club members and enthusiasts and out beekeeping in and around Lancashire.

In October 2016 we commenced work on the creation of a new Club apiary on a 2.6 acre site, contained in an 11 acre garden and woodland area, close to the centre of Lancaster. Our aspirations were to:

  • create a training apiary with all-weather wheelchair access
  • plant and maintain a half-acre wildflower meadow
  • build a club house
  • manage the one acre of woodland on site for the benefit of local wildlife.
Lune Valley Bee Keepers Apiary - Before
Lune Valley Bee Keepers Apiary - Before
Lune Valley Bee Keepers Apiary - Before
Lune Valley Bee Keepers Apiary - After
Lune Valley Bee Keepers Apiary - After
Lune Valley Bee Keepers Apiary - After

The site, shown above, had been neglected for some considerable time and required the felling of more than 140 Leylandii, each over 60ft tall and the use of some heavy earth moving equipment in order to prepare it for development.

However, work progressed well and our training apiary became fully functional in the Spring of 2017. Each year since then we have been able to run a number of training events for aspiring, new and developing beekeepers.

Work began in Spring 2017 to plant the meadow site. The turf was stripped from the site and the site chain harrowed to level it and remove roots and stones. An annual seed mix was sown as a nurse cover for a perennial mix of native wild flowers rich in nectar and pollen to benefit pollinators and other wildlife. Many of the seeds were gathered locally from our pollinator sites and additional seed was supplied by Emorsgate, Friends of the Earth and Burt’s Bees.

A site for our proposed club house has been cleared and prepared but the project is on hold as we strive to raise the necessary funds to proceed.

We have made some progress with our woodland management plan with the creation of an access path, some wildflower planting and the introduction of bird boxes, hedgehog houses and bug hotels.

On 1st January 2021, as an outcome of Brexit, it became illegal to import bees, other than queen bees, into the UK. In order to ensure, as far as practical, that our new members were able to access stocks of healthy, docile bees, well suited to our local environment, we decided to set up a separate breeding apiary. Whilst not yet complete, by the end of the 2021 season we had built the structure, installed the hives and introduced stocks of British Black Bees (Apis mellifera mellifera). We expect to be able to produce new nucleus colonies in the 2022 season.