It’s all about bees
Felin Honeybees Honey Farm and Education Centre is tucked away down a winding lane in the north of Anglesey, near Cemlyn Bay. Surrounded by meadows, farmland and backing on the sea, it is a rural haven, well off the beaten track.
This award winning local business is all about bees and honey. Owned and run by National Trust tenant farmer Katie Hayward, Felin Honeybees is based at Felin Gafnan which has been farmed by Katie’s family since 1532.
Katie’s background is in construction project management. Keeping bees for over 20 years as a hobby, she found that beekeeping was a way to escape the pressures of life and “slow down.” And from this small start, Felin Honeybees has steadily developed. It’s a fascinating small business based on a passion for beekeeping. Plus a determination to educate and enthuse others to get involved in beekeeping.
In addition to keeping bees at Felin Honeybees (around 600 hives), Katie runs a bee education centre, teaches in local schools and works in partnership with local farmers.
The colour purple
Bees love purple flowers? Anything purple. Lavender, buddleia, heathers, salvias, purple toadflax and more. And that they can’t see the colour red? Yet these tiny creatures have an ability to see colour far faster than a human. Indeed their eyesight is quite remarkable. A bee can see a field of daisies from a mile up in the air; to them, those tiny daisies look like a field of stars.
Making beekeeping fun
Alongside her own beekeeping, Katie runs an in-house education centre at Felin Gafnan. Here she teaches students how to work with bees and how to make related products. She looks to accommodate anyone with an interest in bees and will adapt learning styles and approaches to suit each student.
And as well as providing affordable lessons in beekeeping and wheelchair beekeeping courses, she runs ‘Meet the Bees’ activities. These prove to be popular with people who want to find out more about becoming a beekeeper. Katie also runs bee therapy courses at the education centre, supporting individuals recovering from domestic violence and self harm. Because beekeeping is a calming and confidence building skill, these courses deliver good results.
Katie spends time in local schools, delivering talks and practical demonstrations. These give children and young people a valuable insight into the world of bees. Ysgol San Siôr in Llandudno, for example, with Felin Honeybee’s support now have an apiary of three bee hives. And the children love being involved. What a fantastic opportunity for them!
Call the Pollination Team
Aside from education, Felin Honeybees is essentially a pollination company. Katie supports local farmers by providing strong colonies of bees who help with the pollination of targeted crops. Since better pollination increases production yields with local vineyards and fruit farms, Felin Honeybees, is playing an important part in helping other local businesses to grow.
Moreover, in partnership with local National Trust properties, Felin Honey hives have been introduced at Penrhyn Castle and Plas Newydd. This work is raising the profile of beekeeping with visitors to both properties, educating them about the importance of bees. Following on, Plas Newydd’s held its inaugural “bee week” in June 2017 and it proved a great success. Bees are now an integral part of the visitor experience.
Honey Honey Honey
Felin Honey harvests over 40 tonnes of honey on an annual basis. It is sold largely into the catering industry and bought by high-end restaurants and top chefs across the UK and beyond.
This local and very vital business is going from strength to strength and it seems like the future is buzzing for Felin Honey here in North Wales. Bees are so incredibly vital to our ecosystem and future food production. And Katie, alongside other local beekeepers, is working hard to make sure that they continue to thrive.