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Honiton Show 2023

Honiton Show Bees and Honey Report 2023

Honiton Show

The annual Honiton and District Agricultural Association Show was held on Thursday 3rd August at the Stockers Farm site as usual. Looking on the bright side, the weather in the afternoon was fine with a few brief sunny spells. However, there was a heavy downpour in the morning that left the ground slippery. Even this had a bright side, as visitors to the Show who took shelter in the Bees and Honey marquee engaged in all our attractions and information displays.

At the entrance was the Honey Competition display. Some visitors were amazed at the wide range of colours achieved.

Honey competition display

Next was the East Devon Beekeepers display. This year’s theme was The Development of the Hive, with examples of old-fashioned straw skeps, drawings of old and new styles of hives, plus illustrations of some buildings used to house skeps called bee boles. The bee boles range from the humble cottager style to the grand buildings found in the grounds of Stately Homes.

East Devon Beekeepers display

This year we only had one observation hive in operation. Always a favourite with the children, trying to spot the queen. She obligingly demonstrated laying eggs in the comb occasionally and we did see a few ‘waggle dances’ when the weather brightened up and the foragers were able to fly.

Observation hive

Despite a slow start, the ‘Taste of Honey’ attraction was kept busy all day until stocks ran out! Who can resist scones with clotted cream and honey?

The ‘Taste of Honey’ stand

The Photo Competition was well subscribed, with visitors being asked to vote for their favourite picture.

Photo competition display

The Honey Sales display looked very inviting with dozens of different samples from around the region.

Honey sales display

‘Roll Your Own Candle’ remains a mainstay attraction, especially for children. At the busiest time of day we needed five stewards to cope with demand!

‘Roll a Candle’ stand

For those visitors not in a hurry we had a ‘virtual hive’. The inside of the hive can be viewed in comfort, without danger of being stung, as the bees go about their normal activities.

Our final display was the Asian Hornet Information stand. This non-native species is not yet established in the UK, but beekeepers and public alike need to be aware of the dangers it poses. Free identification cards were available.

Presentation of the prizes this year was by Anne Swithinbank, the well-known TV broadcaster and gardening presenter.

Honiton Show may only be a one-day event but it takes a huge amount of organisation to stage successfully. The Bees and Honey Committee, made up from members of East Devon and Exeter branches, should be congratulated for their work over the preceding months to make the Show reflect the vibrancy and popularity of our craft.

The Honey Competition entries were judged by BBKA Senior Judge Jack Mummery and the Cake Competition entries by David Beazley from Ashburton Cookery School. We are grateful to both judges for their time and expertise.

Finally, our thanks to the many stewards who helped on the stands and interacted with the public. The Show would not work without you!

Honiton Show Competition Results

The entrants for the competition came from 4 different Devon branches. Overall points awarded:

  • East Devon 173 points
  • Exeter 97 points
  • Tiverton 43 points
  • Tor Bay 42 points

Award winners:

The Fred Barratt Shield for highest points in the honey classes – Brahim Meraga (Tiverton)

The Evelyn Pelham Salver to the winner of Class 8 (6 jars labelled for sale) – Brahim Meraga (Tiverton)

The Basil Salter Wax Challenge Cup for highest points in wax classes – Liz Westcott (Torbay)

The Griffin Cup (composite entry) – Brahim Meraga (Tiverton)

The Robin Kirkcaldie Cup to the winner of Novice Class 19 – Jonathon Constance Baker (Exeter)

The Honiton Show Cup for highest points in all classes – Brahim Meraga (Tiverton)

The Uplyme Cup for highest points in the cookery classes – Keith Bone (East Devon)

National Honey Show Blue Ribbon award for Best Exhibit in Show – Paul Hammond (Exeter)

The Branch Cup for the Branch with the highest points – East Devon

The Competition Secretary post was taken over by Chris Carr this year. With a final total of 150 entries in the competition his first season was very busy. Well done Chris.

The Show
Bees and honey marquee

Bees and honey marquee


Mead entries in the Competition


Bee themed Art display

Queen bee

Display hive Queen

Decorated super

Decorated supers

Honey Sales display

Honey Sales display

Honey exhibits

Honey exhibits – Class 19 Kirkcaldie cup

Honey cakes

Part of the cake competition

Honey sales

The Honey Sales display

Wax competition

Part of the wax competition display

Branch cup

East Devon win the Branch Cup

Blue ribbon

The Blue Ribbon for Paul

Uplyme cup

Keith wins the Uplyme cup

Honiton Show cup

Brahim Meraga with the Honiton Show cup

Branch cup

Val and Annie receive the Branch cup