It is well known that our bees are in trouble and in decline - so I was delighted to be contacted by a local beekeeper about having beehives at one of our meadows. Our herb-rich meadows are a vital source of pollen and nectar for bees so having bee hives seemed an obvious way to help and encourage bees.
For the first season the hives remained unoccupied - but then it was a very wet summer. However, last year the beekeeper introduced a swarm to one hive and this was quickly followed by the other hive being adopted unaided - so we have full occupation.
It is a joy to see the hives in action and there is no doubt there is plenty of flowers for the bees to visit and this year we were rewarded by being given the first fresh honeycomb by the beekeeper. I have not yet started my honey but I am sure it will be suffused with buttercups, green-winged orchids and red clover.
We are very grateful to Neil Page who is the beekeeper - both for the honey, but more importantly for establishing bees at the meadows and regularly visiting to make sure they are still doing well. Having bees at the meadows seems somehow to make the meadows complete and is a great reward and motivation for maintaining the meadows in good condition for wildlife.