Honey Production is Underway at Woodlands Park Hotel
Our 3 hives, containing 60,000 honey bees, are managed by BBKA members Tim & Sally Hutchinson, for the production of honey from nectar flowers at the hotel and surrounding countryside.
During the month of May to July, the hotel bees produce honey from the nectar of the rich flora of the surrounding chalk downland, one of the best districts for all round honey production in the United Kingdom. Little or no nectar is collected until the Spring; maple, dandelion, sycamore, horsechestnut, hawthorn and cultivated rape. These give way in the summer to blackberry, white clover, lime trees, rosabay willow herb, sweet chestnut, cultivated field crops and the small chalk loving plants of vetches, thymes, majoram and scabrous. Even thistles, traveller’s joy, knapweed, yellow meliot and red clover all contribute to the delicate bouquet of the hotels honey!
To prevent the bees swarming, and to monitor any disease problems, the bees are inspected at weekly intervals, Each well-managed hive of bees produces approximately 50 pounds of honey in an average English summer. If local farmers cultivate more nectar bearing crops, or if a summer is hot and humid, each hive could reasonably produce nearly double that amount.
Depending on the weather, it is sometimes possible to harvest a small crop of honey in June. A larger crop, called the main crop, is harvested late in July. Any nectar gathered after that is used by the bees to store for the winter.
From the bees there is a variety of derivative products that can be used including cut comb that we use on our Oak Room Menu.
Here's a simple recipe for Honey Sorbet that you can try at home - we use this on our wedding and fine dining menus:
Honey Sorbet Recipe
3 sprigs on lavender (this provides an enhanced flavour of flowers and as lavender is of an abundance at Woodlands Park, it's only fitting we use it.)
1. Warm all of the ingredients together so the honey melts and the scent of the lavender comes though
2. Sieve though a fine mesh strainer
3. Leave to cool
4. Put into an ice cream machine and churn