Brogdale Collections - Bees Conservation & Education Project

So Much More Than Just Fruit!

As part of your visit take a moment to see how the charity are making a real difference with a small grant of £4,194 from Orchard Community Energy.

The project is in response to the significant decline of bee pollinator populations which threatens food security, biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems, which in turn has drastic consequences for humanity and the natural world. Recent studies have highlighted that 97% of flower-rich meadows have been lost since 1937. Between 1985 to 2005 - there has been a 54% reduction in beehives as bees colony-based lifestyle loses the habits and flowers to sustain them. Much of this has happened with minimal public awareness.

With the project located at Brogdale Collections with 16,500 annual visitors the project team strive to raise awareness and prevent the decline of this important species of wildlife. With key partner 'Rural Courses' - bees courses and activities have been set up for individuals, families, schools, groups, and organisations in the Swale and Medway areas.

Five fully functioning bee communities, beehives and vital equipment with a focus on conservation and education have been created. Preparations started back in January through to March awaiting the warmer weather to move the bees safely. Educational courses commenced in May and will continue to run through in to November and December. The courses are about pollinators, plant pollination services and the interactions between agro-ecosystems and pollination management.

In August Brogdale Collections created their first home-bred colony of bees dividing two of the strongest colonies. Feeding it with special pollen to get it well developed for the winter. Each nucleus has eggs and larvae, which means the bees have produced a new queen or queens, and the nuclei are now combined in one new hive.

The project has already produced 150 pound jars of honey, some of which is crystallised honey from oilseed rape and the rest clear honey from brambles, elderflowers, lime trees and wild and garden flowers. 

Momentum has been building and further funding sources have provided opportunities for training of some of the most experienced and expert volunteers to work on the project and potential funding may see an on-site bees education centre.

Get involved and volunteer at Brogdale Collections

There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer at Brogdale Collections and support the work of the charity including: Guiding visitors, supporting the education project, working in the front of house shop, marshaling at festivals and events, joining the operations team and working in the 'Garden for Wildlife'. Please go to the website to download an application and find out more.

More About Brogdale Collections

Brogdale Collections is a charity working to provide access and education about the National Fruit Collection to the public. The Charity offers a range of opportunities for the public to use the collections as an educational resource including Daily Guided Tours (April – November), Fruit Days, Festivals and Key Stage 1 & 2 Education Days. Set in over 150 acres of farmland, it has over 4000 varieties of fruit trees here from apples, pears, quinces and plums to cherries and more. The Collections orchards are a living history & heritage of fruit. Brogdale Collections also offers the public access to affordable fruit identification service with their fruit expert.

National Apple Festival - 19 + 20 October 2019

Visit Brogdale for an amazing display of apple varieties and discover over 2200 different varieties in the Brogdale Orchards. Discover something new and tasty with ‘try before you buy’ rare and heritage apple varieties, fill a bag with your favourites to take home! Guided tours of the orchards, horticultural talks, apple pressing demonstrations and a programme of cooking demonstrations all weekend. Enjoy local food, browse the craft and produce on offer and meet the experts to have your apples identified plus lots of family fun!