Hand Picked Hotels is committed to reducing its impact on the planet, working closely with local suppliers to reduce food miles and taking significant steps to preserve our environment. You will often find produce on your plate grown in our greenhouses and within our hotel grounds. Each hotel takes an individual approach. Wood Hall Hotel & Spa are our focus as they work hard for the plight of the humble honeybee.
Across the globe, the honeybee population is under threat, with habitat loss, climate change, disease and toxic pesticides all contributing to its rapid decline. The good news is that providing a haven for these beloved insects where their colonies can thrive is helping the conservation fight – and it’s something that Wood Hall Spa has been practising for several years. The hotel’s apiary was originally set up by the Master Beekeeper of Barkston Ash Beekeepers, Mr John Whitaker. Today it is managed by a passionate local beekeeper who cares for the colonies.
Every bee within its colony plays a crucial role, from the house bee who cleans the hive and the nurse bee feeding the young larvae to the wax and honeycomb-making bee and the guard bee protecting the hive’s entrance. However, the forager bee is responsible for bringing in the precious nectar that creates the honey. In a well-balanced colony, a third of its workers are foragers, who can forage up to a three-mile radius from their hive.
In the Wood Hall estate grounds, the bees benefit from the extended lawned area where clovers, daisies and dandelions can flourish and the extensive wooded areas. Underneath tree canopies, more wildflowers entice the bees, while the miles of hedgerows criss-cross the landscape to allow the bees to bring in additional stores.
The taste and colour of the honey vary depending on the time of year and the weather conditions, but it is almost always naturally blended, as the bees collect their nectar from so many different floral sources.
The beekeeper has a big part to play in helping our friends, sometimes having to feed the bees syrup when nectar is in short supply. They always ensure enough honey is left in the hive to sustain the bees through the winter months.
In the meantime, the efforts of these busy bees do not go to waste – guests and the local community can enjoy a taste of this precious liquid gold all year round.