Here at Boringdon Hall we endeavour to treat our guests to fresh and local produce when it comes to all areas of their stay and that doesn’t stop when it comes to the honey.
There’s nothing better than waking to the morning views of Dartmoor and starting the day with a hearty Devonshire breakfast. New to the family at Boringdon Hall and Gaia Spa is the bee hive, tucked away in the wildflower meadow, where the luscious golden honey is produced ready for our guests to devour.
With many other benefits, other than being utterly irresistible to taste, we’ve taken a moment to sit down with Jean the beekeeper and understand a little better what those benefits are…
When did you first start working with bees?
I started learning how to keep bees in May 2008; 8 years on, still learning and enjoying my very addictive hobby!
What are the benefits of honey?
- Natural sweetener
- Contains no additives
- Honey has anti-bacterial properties so is used in the medical/veterinary professions to treat wounds/ulcers
Helps sooth a sore throat
- Although not medically proven, those suffering from hay fever say a spoon of local honey a day helps with the symptoms
- Honey is sweeter than sugar so less is used
- Honey also has a ‘feel good factor’
How do bees benefit the environment they are in?
Honey bees are important pollinators; we rely heavily on them for much of the food that is on our plate in one way or another. All sorts of crops are pollinated by honey bees, including fruit and many vegetables. And, it’s not just the food we eat that is important. Pollination helps to feed many other animals and birds in the food chain and is a vital part of creating the diversity in the environment that we enjoy. In many parts of the world, honey bees play a vital role in pollinating forage crops for livestock, so even meat is affected by honey bees.
What can their honey be used for?
- Substitute for sugar
- Beauty products
- And of course, enjoyed on toast, breakfast cereals and yoghurt!
Bees wax has its own uses too – beauty products, candles, furniture polish.
How long will it take for a substantial amount of honey to form?
There are two honey flows during the year; spring-time when the spring flowers/trees come into blossom and another during the summer when the summer flowers blossom; hence the different flavours, textures and colours of honey. One hive can produce 60lb (27kg) or more in a good season, dependent on weather and colony size. However, an average hive would be around 25lb (11kg) surplus. Bees fly about 55,000 miles to make just one pound of honey, that’s 1½ times around the world!
How will Gaia Spa’s wildflower meadow benefit from the bees and how will they benefit from the meadow?
The wildflower meadow will provide a fantastic source of food (pollen and nectar) not only to honey bees but to other pollinating insects such as bumble bees, hover flies and butterflies; they in turn, will enrich the environment, encouraging more birds, wildlife into the area.