We have recently set up five bee hives behind the main house at the back of the orchard, well away from the holiday lets tucked just behind the hedgerow at the top of the ridge. The hives have been installed by local bee keeper Kieren Berry. The hives were hand built by Kieren over the winter, and put in place in mid-April, with brand new bee colonies. Kieren says the hives are all doing very well, and the inhabitants must be impressed with their new home because they are going for the whole bee job enthusiastically.
As those who have visited Stolford know, we have extensive gardens, and about 250 acres of grassland, which is home to a wide range of meadow flowers. We also have miles of hedgerows all packed with an abundance of flora, on top of which we have incorporated a high percentage of clover in fields that we reseeded last Autumn. There’s plenty going on to keep the bees happy. We will be able to offer Stolford Farm honey to our guests from about the end of August. Longer term the plan is to increase the hive numbers to eight in total, but we’re off to a decent start.
Also, in an earlier blog we talked about our new orchard, which we started to plant in the Spring of 2019. All of the original twenty five trees have thrived, as you can see from the photos. We were going to plant another twenty five this Spring, but the new Christmas tree project over ran, again mostly due to the weather, so we decided to call a halt this year, and we’ll double up next Spring with another fifty. Eventually, we expect to have about an acre and a half of them. When apples start appearing and it’s all up and running they will go to our estate manager Joe Heley (Secret Orchard) who is a local artisan producer, and from there we are thinking about making apple brandy here in Stolford.