Beyond the Thames barrier, East London’s riverside offers some surprising spaces where bees can prosper. The Royal Victoria Dock bees collect pollen and nectar principally from brownfield areas that were cleaned and returned to nature more than 20 years ago. Apparently bleak, this post-industrial landscape actually offers a wealth of the wild forage that honeybees will always seek in preference to cultivated garden flowers. Pioneer species such as Eucalyptus, Robinia, Bramble, Hawthorn, Dandelion and Elder are amongst the many forage sources which produce this rich varietal.
Sustainable London Beekeeping & Honey
Bermondsey Street Bees was founded in 2007, a time when London’s open spaces, rooftops and private gardens still offered honeybees a safe haven. Even then, with sustainability top of their agenda, founders Dale & Sarah began establishing significant urban planting projects to protect and build biodiversity around their apiary sites.
Since then though, the fashionable trend for urban beekeeping has swamped London and many other cities with more and more hives. The combination of soaring honeybee populations and ever-shrinking green space raises major ecological concerns, with scientists spotlighting London beekeeping (and honey production) as having become problematic. The city’s hive density is now three times higher than anywhere in Europe, and in this challenged environment, food-seeking honeybees increasingly compete not only with each other, but also with already-endangered wild bee species (bumblebees and solitaries.)
In the face of a steady increase in honeybee populations and parallel declines of wild pollinators, Bermondsey Street Bees have reduced their urban hive numbers significantly over the past few years. They have also moved apiaries away from urban hotspots into uncrowded, naturally rewilded land in London’s far Docklands, under an exclusive licence with The Royal Docks.
In these naturally rewilded brownfield sites, a rich, vibrant and ever-evolving flora and fauna underpin a strong ecosystem. Here, with plentiful resources, Bermondsey Street Bees’ hives can live in balance with their wild cousins. Bermondsey Street Bees always prioritise their bees’ welfare over honey production, but it’s thrilling to see national award-winning recognition for the glorious, and highly differentiated sustainable London honeys that their four Docklands sites are now producing.
OTHER PRODUCTS BY BERMONDSEY STREET BEES
MORE ABOUT BERMONDSEY STREET BEES
BEEKEEPING WITH PASSION
Bermondsey Street Bees is a sustainable beekeeping practice founded in 2007 by Dale Gibson and Sarah Wyndham Lewis. They offer a variety of award-winning artisanal raw honeys, each with immense depth of character with fabulous stories told through their flavours, just like a fine wines or olive oils.
BERMONDSEY STREET BEES PROVENANCE
THE BUZZ AROUND SUSTAINABILITY
Bermondsey Street Bees, and other small batch, artisanal producers in urban and rural settings across the UK and Europe, follow 'bee to jar' principles when it comes to gathering honey, advocating transparency and sustainable practice at every step of production.
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