Spend a sweet week celebrating honey
Our co-owner Candida is a beekeeper and she is helping support the vital role of the honey bee to the environment as part of National Honey Week from October 23 until 29 (2017).
Candida hopes to encourage people to support the event and British beekeepers too.
She says: "As I am a trained beekeeper, we thought it would be a great idea to get involved with The British Beekeepers Association's (BBKA) National Honey Week, so we can help spread awareness of the importance of bees and the value of their by-products.
"There is a growing recognition of the enormous value of bees as pollinators of crops and flowers. Beekeeping is therapeutic, eco-friendly, vital for gardening and farming, and interesting too. Plus, there is also nothing like the taste of fresh honey!
"I look after my own bees to provide honey for our guests' breakfast table toast. We're pretty sure we're one of just a handful of hotels in the country to have our own hives on-site.
"We know there are some in London, but we don't think many offer their guests their honey for breakfast."
The National Honey Week coincides with the end of the beekeeping season and the honey harvest. The honey crop is considered an indicator of the state of the natural world. For example, a poor honey crop could suggest the impact of environmental changes.
Candida has had bees on-site here for four seasons and now has five hives with around 40,000 bees in each.
"I am affectionately known in these parts as the mad bee lady and I am often called in to help deal with swarms. We're a popular wedding venue and during a wedding a couple of summers back I was called out to deal with a swarm nearby. It didn't affect the wedding and I don't think anyone knew I had nipped out to deal with it.
"When you do get a swarm, the key is to lay down a sheet or something for the bees to walk along and to get them in a box with a lid before transporting them. It's wonderful, when you pop the sheet down, to see them all walk calmly behind each other, in one big group up the cloth and into the box. It's one of nature's little miracles."
The BBKA dedicates the Honey Week to celebrating the honey harvest and recognising the importance of the honey bee. It invites members of the public to help honey bees by planting flowers providing nectar and pollen, which honey bees can eat, or to join its fundraising scheme, Adopt a Beehive.
"In our garden, here at The Bower Inn, we have planted a host of perfect pollinators including lavender, buddleia, pyracantha and rosemary to help provide food for our bees and others."
Candida's bees are currently living on a neighbour's commercial strawberry farm. The honey produced is too good to be used in cooking, so is served for guests to have at breakfast with their toast.
"I also make my own breakfast granola, which you can make using runny honey, and we often get asked for the recipe, so as part of National Honey Week, we've popped the recipe on our blog on our website, so people can make their own at home. The recipe can be found at https://goo.gl/ZkdFMF."
National Honey Week runs from October 23 until 29. For further details, please visit www.bbka.org.uk/news_and_events/national_honey_week.