Camley Street Introductory course

By | April 1, 2012

An idyl in the centre of London, neighbouring St Pancras rail station

An idyl in the centre of London, neighbouring St Pancras rail station

Since I’d booked some courses mistakenly out of order, today I went along to Camley Street Natural Park for an Introductory course. This was a one day, 5 hour course briefly covering some of the broad topics of bee keeping.

I was 5 minutes late, as I’d spent some productive time that morning arguing with my wife about gas water heating.
As I arrived late, I noticed a projector slide displaying 3 books, one being “A World Without Bees“.
It took me about 2 minutes to realise the course instructors were the authors, Alison Benjamin and Brian McCallum.

Brian and Alison are instrumental in urban beekeeping, and to get a few hours of their time for £55 was a bit of a bargain. I cant pay justice to the amount of work they’ve done, short of saying that they have educated and inspired a large number, and wide variety of people.
Brian continues to do so running Urban Bees, hosting courses and a social enterprise at Camley Street training new beekeepers in responsible urban beekeeping.
Alison is the editor of The Guardian’s Society section, writing on social affairs and environmental issues.
I *think* that the Ealing Transition / Walmer Street crew who I’ll  ‘ll be working with are being taught by Brian.

Brian is clearly very passionate about urban beekeeping, and is easily distracted by the many varied,  complex, and interesting topics that students can throw his way. Alison it seems, has been tasked with time keeping, and class focus (i.e. keeping Brian on track) as well as being proficient in the topic.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable day, and although I’d already covered many of the topics in the Zoo Train beginners course, being at their site was a great experience.
It was amazing to see the Camley Street Nature Park, which I previously never knew existed. Its location is stunning, right in the middle of the wholesale development around Kings Cross and St Pancras. Such an oasis of wildlife and calm in the middle of one of London’s transport hubs.

Hives in the middle of London, right by St Pancras station

Hives in the middle of London, right by St Pancras station

We got the opportunity to walk  around by the hives, and being early spring, the bees are starting to buzz with activity. It was pretty cool to stand in the middle of 4 (albeit early) hives, as the bees duck and dance around and generally avoid you altogether. Trying to swat them away now seems quite egocentric, they really aren’t bothered by people in the slightest, more that we are bothered by them!

I had to buy Alison and Brian’s newest book “Bees in the City”, which so far is shaping up as another great read.
If you’re interested in a one day taster, Urban Bees is the ticket!
It’s clear to see why the next three courses have sold out.









Comments are closed.