There’s always a lively ‘buzz’ about Southwold and its surrounds… but it’s a living, breathing, one at the Adnams eco-friendly Distribution Centre, where colonies of bees thrive under the care of local beekeeper, Steve Barrett.
Pakefield resident Steve worked for Suffolk Police for 35 years, a period which led to him visiting many parts of the world, including a tour of duty in the Falkland Islands after the conflict.
His interest in beekeeping started in 1964, inspired by Harold Whitby, the Deputy Headteacher at Steve’s school and a keen beekeeper who continually shared his knowledge. “I only started keeping bees eight years ago, though, when my local doctor gave me a nucleus of bees,” Steve says. “I was pleased to return the favour this year when, over winter, he lost his bees.”
A long-time fan of Adnams and its sustainable practices, Steve wrote to the company after identifying its Reydon site as a safe and healthy home for honey bees. “After some time and a few interviews they made me very welcome,” he says. Steve made hives and supplied bees for the site – formerly a gravel pit – where they now thrive in a sheltered, south-facing area. His approach is all about looking after the bees, and Steve makes weekly inspections of the hive to ensure the colony is fit, healthy and free of signs of disease. “I also visit Adnams shops with an observation hive to explain to all the interesting world of the bee,” he adds.
“Last winter was hard on bees, with many colonies lost,” Steve explains, “but I’m pleased to say that all mine survived.” In total, he looks after about 20 hives, including some close to his home in Pakefield. “The honey sells out every year. I of course supply Adnams hotels, and Mills Bros Butchers in Southwold.”
He also assists a Master Beekeeper friend, John Everett, in teaching new beekeepers. “Beekeeping is not difficult when you have been trained,” Steve says. “It’s just a joy.”
• When Steve’s not busy with his bees, he’s also dedicated to offering luxury holiday accommodation at his self-catering cottage Carisbrooke, which is let by our sister-company Suffolk Secrets. Every effort has been made to put the holidaymaker first in this charming home – from the carefully selected Farrow and Ball paints, to the Canadian Hot Tub and Pizza Oven in the rear, you can rest assured that a stay here will be of the highest indulgence. Some of Steve’s hives are close to this Pakefield property and he’d be happy to give you a ‘by appointment’ tour during your holiday there!