Bees & Walls

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This was an innovation. Our first try at an evening talk. On June 11 2008 we were at the Study Centre at Studland, and we had two really interesting speakers. The weather was lovely so we were able to have the first talk outdoors.

Doug Whyte abandoned the day job as Property Manager of the whole Studland Estate, and instead talked to us in his private capacity about his passion - bee-keeping - and showed us some of the equipment that he uses. The audience were riveted as he told us intricacies that we had never dreamt of. The lives of most of the 40,000 or so bees in a swarm are predetermined and short; the few males (drones) live to mate and then die; the queen lays 3,000 eggs a day, and when she begins to weaken she is killed or abandoned.

Without a healthy bee population agriculture can't continue, yet in the face of increasing disease governments have repeatedly cut funding for research and support.

Doug talks to the audience

Even when he's finished the audience can't stop asking questions


And is there honey still for tea?*

Yes, Doug's honey was about two weeks old as he spoke, but the future may be bleak if disease problems aren't tackled.



*The Old Vicarage, Grantchester, Rupert Brooke, 1912


Jonathon Kershaw, The Trust's Warden for South Purbeck left us astounded by his talk on stone walls. In this small area the Trust has no less than 60km or 38 miles of them. Many of them date back hundreds of years, as evidenced by old maps. About a quarter of them need repair, at an estimated cost of about 1m. In the near future the government will be ending grants towards the work. Although the Trust is using volunteers to do the work, as well as contractors, it will clearly take many many years to complete the work

Jonathon told us about the different styles of wall building, and how the stone usually reflects the underlying geology. There is almost no historical written information on the walls. Much of what we believe about them is conjecture.

Jonathon illustrates a point, using the new equipment at the Study Centre to project his computer screen onto a whiteboard.

NB - the bottle of wine on the table is a raffle prize, not Jonathon's refreshment.

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This page was last updated 12 February 2014

The Purbeck Association of The National Trust