About our apiary


If you are interested in seeing how to keep bees, come along to our apiary at Clay Lane on Saturday afternoons. Weather permitting, we will be making inspections  of our bee hives where you can get up close and see what the bees are up to. Enjoy a cup pf tea with our members and discuss how you might get into beekeeping. For directions on how to get to our apiary see below or for a map,  click on the About our apiary tab at the top of this page. For more information contact Victor Wilmington on vicwilmington@aol.com or ring 07935041168.

Getting to Clay Lane Apiary

The Branch Apiary is situated at Clay Lane ,Chudleigh Knighton TQ13 0HN  From the west, go along the A38 and take the turning to Chudleigh Knighton, turn right off the slipway and about 200 yards on the right you will see Twinyeo Cottage. Immediately after the cottage is a lane on the right, go up this lane, through the gate marked private NABKA and park in the car park of field

From the east (Exeter), continue along the A38 past Chudleigh Knighton to the exit for Newton Abbot and Bovey Tracey. Take the slip road but double back on to the A38, then take the Chudleigh Knighton exit,  turn right off the slipway and about 200 yards on the right you will see Twinyeo Cottage. Immediately after the cottage is a lane on the right, go up this lane, through the gate marked private NABKA and park in the car park of field.

History of the apiary

The apiary was  originally run by a syndicate of four beekeepers headed by the late Henry Luxton .It was Henry who taught beekeeping,to a very high standard, to the majority of our more senior beekeepers .The syndicate members kept up to four hives each on the site. Inevitably the number of hives increased and latterly there were 40 hives on the small site now occupied by the the present clubhouse alone! After Henry retired from being Apiary manager he was replaced by his deputy Colin Turner. The syndicate eventually broke up and Colin was left to manage the  40 hives for the branch , a mammoth task. He was joined at this time by Allen Hodgson. The first task was to reduce the number of hives and improve their temperament!

Subsequently Coln retired and Allan took over the management of the Apiary.  Finding it too small for the purposes of the branch he set in motion an idea to purchase a portacabin as a clubhouse and negotiate for a bigger piece of land from our Landlords ,Emery’s, to set it on.

It was a stroke of luck when the lease for the field next to the apiary came up and with great negotiationRuth Mountford and Ray Ford secured the tenure.  Allen, Ruth , Glyn and Ray set about rethinking onsite accommodation and the idea for the Clay Lane site as it is today was born.

Ruth and Glyn were inspirational in a getting people to part with monies and managed to secure a substantial grant from Viridor Waste Management’s Landfill Tax Credits, who distribute a portion of landfill taxes received for local projects near landfill sites.  Once we had funding, the project gained momentum and when Allen stepped back  from Apiary management due to other commitments, his enthusiastic new team  picked up the torch.  Suddenly we had our own carpenter (Simon Hopwood), electrician (Paul Osborne), plumber (Jon Wafforn) and Project Manager (Ruth Mountford).  I mention them by name only because they have truly put in effort above and beyond anything that could have been reasonably expected.  There are many more who also deserve a mention, too many to mention here,but  you know who you are and thank you all.

Following a lot of hard work and incredible support from members, local business and the kind co operation of our neighbours,  the Club House was erected.    The concrete base was laid and the walls built. The roof wasn’t complete when we had the snow but fortunately no permanent damage was done.   A floor of tiles provided by the local British Ceramic Tile Company was laid and insulation put in the walls before internal boarding went up.  Solar panels have been  installed providing our electricity and a wood burner  for when it gets cold.  We now have a fitted kitchen and plenty of space for meetings and teaching sessions.

This was the Committee’s vision and the enthusiasm keeps on growing.  We have responsibility for the 2.5acre site and the development of the field as a  County Wildlife Site with the support and interest of Devon Wildlife Trust.  Several interesting and unusual species of plants and animals have already been found there.   At the top of the field the apiary  has been newly laid out and is managed by a small team of dedicated members.

400 hedging plants were donated by the Woodland Trust as part of the Millennium Project and these have been used to reconstitute the hedge along the road boundary of the Apiary. We have recently had chippings applied to the car park outside the clubhouse which has made parking so much easier.


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