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Beekeeping for Beginners Course 2022.

East Devon Branch of Devon Beekeepers’ Association
Full tuition, practical experience and mentor support to help you get started.

Participants will be taken through the beekeeping fundamentals on Zoom prior to the active season, which begins in April. Practical tuition under expert guidance will follow, allowing you to apply the theory to live bees (all subject to Covid rules at the time).

Local mentors and instruction in our club apiary (subject to Covid rules) will put you in the best position to develop your skills and knowledge.

Full Zoom instructions will be given at the time but access to an online connection will be required.

The cost will be £100 (with a reduction for Partners, £50) which will provide tuition and support throughout 2022 as you start your beekeeping journey.

The course will start on Saturday 5th February,  2022 from 10:00hr – 11:15hr and continue weekly at the same time to end on Saturday 9th April.

There will also be five additional Zoom meetings on Thursday evenings at 19:30hr to ‘revise and reinforce’. Dates will be 11th February, 24th February, 10th March, 24th March  and 14th April.

Included in the fee are:

both of which produce regular colour magazines.

Further benefits include:

  • insurance,
  • use of club equipment and facilities,
  • attendance at events, talks and advice sessions,
  • access to equipment sales when available,
  • the club library,
  • local newsletters AND a copy of Haynes Beekeeping Manual for you to keep and refer to in the years to come.

If you would like to be emailed the syllabus (now available), plus a subscription form, please send your details to education@edbk.co.uk

Places are limited and will be reserved in order of date of application. Your place will then be confirmed upon receipt of your subscription.

Course Coordinator: Richard Simpson, 07900 492 242, education@edbk.co.uk
who will be happy to answer any questions.


The 2020 honey cake competition prizewinners
Thanks to Kath West and Helen Bithrey for judging the record breaking number of entries (23).

A small selection of the 23 entries

Cake Competition prize winners, l to r: 1st David, 2nd Philip (on behalf of Heather), 3rd Marjorie

Richard demonstrating.

Noise level deafening …

…but worth it!

First, light your smoker

Open the brood nest.

Inspect brood for the first time.


Honey Cake Recipe 2020

You may like to try the recipe yourself.


  • 5 oz / 140g butter
  • 6 oz / 170g clear honey
  • 4 oz / 110g soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 7 oz / 200g self raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon water or milk


  1. Place butter, sugar, honey and water into a saucepan and heat until the fat has melted, stirring all the time.
  2. Then remove pan from heat and allow contents to cool to blood temperature.
  3. Gradually beat in the eggs.
  4. Add sieved flour and mix until smooth.
  5. Do not over-mix.
  6. Pour mixture into a greased and lined 7″ – 8″ (175 -200mm) round cake tin and bake for about 1 hour until risen and firm to the touch.
  7. As a guide, oven temperature 350°F / Mark 4 / 180°C


Stick to the schedule. Ignore the temptation to spice it up with raisins, icing, ginger or whatever.

Honey browns quicker than sugar. It can quickly appear dark-verging-on-burnt in a cake

Honey contains water, typically c.17-18%, so be cautious about making the mixture too wet.

Honey cooks quite slowly, so try to make sure it is cooked through, but not dry or burnt. The judges will check the inside as well as the outside.

Cracking is not fatal. Taste and aroma will outweigh minor cracks, but a ‘smiling’ cake will lose to a perfect top if other factors are equal.

A honey cake should taste and smell of honey. A stronger flavoured honey (usually that means a darker honey) imparts more ‘kick’ to the cake than a light honey, but some can be a bit too strong when cooked. Heather imparts a good, strong flavour, but is not easy to find outside heather areas and is quite expensive.

You may use any honey and make as many trial cakes as you wish. We are not responsible for your figure!