In these strange times we all find ourselves in, due to the Covid-19 restrictions and with no end in sight, now is the time when we should all be thinking about how to spend our time more constructively and see what we can do to help make the world a better place to live in.

Look no further . . . beekeeping is surely a no-brainer.

Everyone in Newton Aycliffe is now fully aware of our new Beekeeping Association: AYCLIFFE or ABKA. We are now fully established with nearly 100 members, a teaching apiary at the St. Oswald’s allotments and HQ at the Moore Lane Eco-Centre. We also have the full backing of the Great Aycliffe Town Council, headed by Lee Williams and Steven Cooper, both of whom have been extremely supportive of our new venture. When we feel like a little more luxury we occasionally use the Oak Leaf Leisure Complex where we can even get a meal and a pint. Our watchwords are “friendly, informal and helpful”, so we are always ready to welcome new faces with open arms.

How do people get into beekeeping?

The first stage is to join a nice, friendly association. We are affiliated to Durham BKA, a well-established and successful association, based in Durham city, through them we are affiliated to the British Beekeepers’ Association (the BBKA) which is the national governing body. Once enrolled, members can take advantage of a wide range of amenities including a full training programme leading to a qualification which enables you to keep bees. Strangely, there are few restrictions to looking after bees, which can be located virtually anywhere, provided your neighbours don’t object and children and pets can be controlled safely.

Urban beekeeping is certainly on the rise, often we find that honey bees have better foraging options than their country cousins, who often find food difficult to come by and it is very often seasonal. Just about anybody can keep bees provided they are serious, conscientious and well prepared.

Our association routinely provides two courses for beginners each year, in the spring (usually over a weekend), and in the Autumn. This is a course based on facts recommended by the BBKA and involves a mixture of classroom-based tuition/seminars and practical work with the bees at the apiary. The course normally would take place at the Eco-Centre but because of the current restrictions this isn’t possible at the moment, so we plan to deliver the course remotely online, using Zoom technology, starting in the New Year.

The course will take place in short sharp 30-minute bursts over about 5/6 weekends with the first session on Saturday 9th January at 10.30am. We expect to be able to get through all the theory in about 10 sessions.

If you are interested in attending the course, please contact our education officer, Chris Barker, email: or you can call him for an informal chat: 07421 471581 anytime.

If you’d like to know a little more about what we do, you can always go to our website: – we guarantee you’ll get a real BUZZ out of it!