Hives to the Heather – 2022

Registered members of HBA have the privilege of taking a combined maximum of 350 colonies onto the New Forest, spread across several designated areas and enclosures.

Forestry England will allow beekeepers who have been granted permits to place their agreed number of hives on sites allocated to them, between 01 July and 31 October 2022.

The honey bees and beekeepers often benefit from the heather if it produces a good flow. In 2021, bees in a total of 350 hives enjoyed a working holiday. The 28 beekeepers who owned those hives enjoyed the challenge of dealing with a different type of honey; heather honey is thixotropic.

Please start to plan now. This will allow time for equipment preparation and reconnaissance because access may require a 4-wheel drive vehicle if the rain starts before you get your honey bees home. The sites available in the New Forest have varying ease of access. Forestry England will notify HBA of the sites that are available for this coming year.

Conditions apply:

  • As a registered member of HBA (which all full members of Hampshire’s 14 local beekeeping associations are) you are automatically a member of BBKA, and as such are covered by a public liability insurance policy which provides coverage of up to £10 million for any one claim. Having such insurance cover is a Forestry England condition for beekeepers who are seeking to bring their hives to the heather.
  • You MUST ensure that your honey bees are free from American Foulbrood and European Foulbrood before bringing bees to the heather.

How to obtain a New Forest Heather Permit:

  • If this is your first application for a permit, contact me (see below) as soon as possible. The deadline is 1st June 2022.
  • If you took bees to the New Forest last year you will automatically be sent an application form in May 2022
  • If you took bees last year but do not intend to do so this year, please let me know immediately so I can reallocate to other beekeepers; thank you.

Forestry England reviewed their charges for 2022 and have imposed an increase. Discussions are still in progress; the following charges are to be confirmed.
NOTE: All the following charges apply PER COLONY

No. of colonies Fee to Forestry England Fee to HBA (*) Total PER COLONY
Up to 9 £4.20 +VAT £1 £6.04
10 or more £7.00 +VAT £1 £9.40

(*) HBA’s additional charge offsets the permit charge levied by Forestry England and other direct expenses arising from managing ‘Bees to the Heather’.

Enclosure key deposit: £30.00 which will be refunded on return of the key at the end of the season.

Peter Grimes: