Keeping bees at The Bee Centre at Samlesbury Hall is more than a hobby

Kath Cordingley
Kath Cordingley
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What do you get someone for their 44th birthday?

What do you get someone for their 44th birthday?
A course for bee keeping may not have seemed the obvious choice of gift for Kath Cordingley but it went down a treat, as six years on, she is now teaching others how to look after them.
Kath and her husband Simon, 52, hold talks and demonstrations at The Bee Centre in Samlesbury Hall.
Kath, of Bamber Bridge, says: “Simon bought me a course for my birthday to see if I would like it and it soon turned into a hobby and obsession.
“I just love bees - they are fascinating creatures. I love the way they arrange themselves in the hive. They are very efficient in what they do. It is all so fascinating.
“There was a bee centre at Samlesbury Hall but it was just a building with information boards.
“So Simon and I took charge of it in October last year and we do talks and demonstrations every Wednesday and Sunday and through the school holidays.
“We explain how important they are and we have a 6ft observation hive and we show people what bees do.
“We have honey tasting and we run courses for people.
“We allow people to put on the protective suits and they go outside to the apiaries. We have a half-acre garden there which we can use to open the hives so we can inspect the bees.
“We raise awareness of the valuable roles honeybees play in supporting our economy and our environment and we host events to discuss this.
“We also look at bee pollination. We have a breeding programme on how to raise the queen bee and reduce the amount of imported bees from other countries so we can reduce diseases associated with bees.”
Kath and Simon’s latest project has been establishing a Bee World (a garden planted to encourage bee pollinators) at Samlesbury Hall with Friends of the Earth.
As part of their aim to set up more of these patches across Lancashire, Kath, 50, has worked with Wignalls Farm, in Standish, Wigan.
She adds: “Friends of the Earth approached us to help in their aim to create a corridor for bees to pollinate as they travel.
“Bees can only fly for up to three miles before they need to stop off for a rest. If we have these Bee World gardens, they can do that and pollinate.
“The initial preparation work has started, with a bunch of volunteers, able bodied and disabled, weeding the existing bed and preparing the soil ready for planting.
“We had pupils from various schools coming in to plant up the bed with a mix of wildflowers especially chosen for bees. In addition to this, we are helping to set up areas around schools for planting bee-friendly gardens.
“The owner of Wignalls Farm has planted 60 acres of wildflowers which are high in nectar, so we have a lot of bees there.
“He also grows oilseed rape, which we sell at The Bee Centre.
“Friends of the Earth have a number of these Bee Worlds across UK and we are very honoured to have been chosen to host the latest one.”
Kath and Simon are certainly busy bees, as they fit all this around their full-time work.
Kath adds: “We do all our bee activities in our spare time, as we both have proper jobs. I am a self employed property developer and Simon works from home as an environmental consultant.”

Kath Cordingley offering the bee experience at The Bee Centre at Samlesbury Hall

Kath Cordingley offering the bee experience at The Bee Centre at Samlesbury Hall

Kath Cordingley

Kath Cordingley

Kath Cordingley offering a bee keeping course at The Bee Centre at Samlesbury Hall

Kath Cordingley offering a bee keeping course at The Bee Centre at Samlesbury Hall

Kath Cordingley at The Bee Centre

Kath Cordingley at The Bee Centre

Volunteers creating a Bee World garden

Volunteers creating a Bee World garden