Skip to content

You Are Here

Stewarts Road Beehive

Posted: 18-08-2011

A new Beehive has buzzed into Stewarts Road Adventure Playground in Larkhall, Lambeth, as part of a Well London Healthy Spaces project that is now in its third year.


Nine thousand bees and a beehive have been introduced to the local community, with bee keeping training being provided by Luke Dixon from Twelve locals including three school children have been taught how to care for the bees and their hive this summer so that it can produce a healthy supply of honey.

This Healthy Spaces project engages people in activities to improve the outdoor area, increase biodiversity and help improve physical and mental well-being. The beekeeping project is an initiative that builds knowledge and practical skills in all aspects of managing a honey bee colony throughout the year.

The bee-keeping course has run throughout August, leaving participants confident to work with the bees on their own. In the future, those wanting to progress onto a recognised certificate in bee husbandry can sit an exam next summer after they have gained enough experience of working with the hive. The adult members being trained hope to pass on the knowledge to people on their own housing estates, youth clubs and schools.

Georgina, one of the participants commented:

The workshops have been completely fascinating, I'm hoping to get permission to have a beehive on my estate and do my bit for increasing the bee population.

Before the project began three years ago, Stewarts Road Adventure Playground in Larkhall, Lambeth, was an unsafe outdoor space with exposed drains, flooding, dumped rubbish and poor access into the new cabin that had been built there as a youth facility. Already the Well London project has improved the outdoor space by creating a vegetable garden, installing a pond, clearing rubbish and laying new paths and decking to make it safer and create disability access. There are also chickens, including rare breed silkies living in Stewarts Road that are looked after by the community and provide fresh eggs that are sold and enjoyed locally.

Worldwide, bees are dying out as a result of pesticide accumulation, pests and diseases such as varroa mites and ever diminishing sources of wildflowers. Fewer flowers and often monocultures of single crop fields provide only one type of pollen and nectar for bees to feed on. This lack of diversity in their diet means many country bees are suffering from malnutrition. Bees in the city fair better now as parks and gardens provide a rich and diverse source of flowers for them to visit and pollinate. It is estimated that 90% of the foods we grow rely upon bees for successful pollination (source: ScienceDaily) so their survival is vital.

Much of the honey available in supermarkets is cheap honey sourced from other countries. Importing honey is bad for native bees as it does not support local bee keeping economies and there is a chance native bees will pick up viral and fungal diseases and may infect their own hive.

The Stewarts Road bees will start to produce honey next summer - a sweet treat for the local community. There are also plans to sell the honey locally next autumn, encouraging people to buy local produce.

This is an Animalcarpet site, Design by Lakesneil