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New residents bring buzz to Nottingham Castle for World Bee Day

New residents bring buzz to Nottingham Castle for World Bee Day

Nottingham Castle has been busy with the arrival of four new beehives, aimed at promoting biodiversity in the city centre and producing honey for visitors to enjoy.

The peaceful colony of 40,000 Buckfast bees have been welcomed to their new home just in time for World Bee Day.

With open green space, an abundance of trees and diverse wildflowers, Nottingham Castle is the ideal location to introduce the buzz of some friendly bees. It is also a short bumble to The Park Estate where the bees can enjoy resident gardens and community spaces. Research has also shown bee communities can thrive in city environments as they are not exposed to the harmful effects of pesticides or herbicides.

To keep a watchful eye on the Castle’s new inhabitants, passionate and experienced beekeeper Griff Dixon of the Norwell Apiary Honeybees in Newark, will visit weekly and conduct checks on the hive. 

Griff is honorary secretary for the Nottinghamshire Beekeepers Association which has over 320 members in the county and is well versed in bee farming as well as helping others get started.

He said:

“We were contacted by Nottingham Castle just as the pandemic was starting, so it’s great to finally install the four hives just in time for World Bee Day. We have been providing honey in jars for the shop, but I'm delighted to be able to start producing a dedicated supply from the Castle grounds and within the city.

“One of the biggest issues we currently face is the impact of Brexit on honeybee importation, which can lead to ‘fake’ honey being sold in the UK. We need more beekeepers in this country to produce local, unadulterated honey that we can all enjoy.

“There are four hives containing around 10,000 bees per hive; one queen, 500 male drones and the rest female workers. Since they arrived, they appear to be settling in well and already producing honey. Buckfast bees were first developed by Brother Adam of Buckfast Abbey and are known to be excellent pollen collectors and peaceful in nature, producing high yields of honey.”

The hives have been placed on the west side of the Middle Bailey and are separated from the public areas of the site by mesh and a small fence - but bee activity is still easy to observe from the boundary.

World Bee Day was first declared in 2018 by the UN General Assembly, to take place every 20 May, raising the importance of bees to our planet and the challenges they face.

To honour this, the first 200 visitors on World Bee Day at the Castle received a free packet of wildflower seeds to plant at home and help attract bees to their garden.

David Johns, interim COO at Nottingham Castle, said:

“I am delighted to finally welcome our very own Castle bees to the grounds, and hope they are settling in well to their new homes. Biodiversity and environmental sustainability have always been part of the Castle Trust’s wider initiative and increasing wildlife in Nottingham city will benefit us all.

“I look forward to sampling the first batch of honey from our beehives and being able to share it with our visitors. Many thanks to Griff for all his hard work in making this possible.”

For further information and to book tickets please visit Nottingham Castle | The Castle of Curious Rebels.

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