Mount Edgcumbe House and Country Park

Opening Ceremony England’s First Black Bee Reserve at Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, 25th May


On a glorious sunny day in one of our most beautiful country parks in the grounds of Mount Edgcumbe House, Cornwall, a crowd gathered to celebrate the opening of England’s first Black Bee Reserve

The tape was cut by Tim Smit, famous for creating the Eden Project and restoring the Lost Garden of Heligan.

The spacious public viewing room allows close observation of the bees in the apiary, while educating the visitor about our native Northern European Bee, Apis mellifera mellifera. Referred to as the Black Bee, it has been found to be thriving in Mount Edgcumbe Park and the surrounding Rame Peninsular, as well as in other parts of Cornwall.

Dr Mairi Knight of Plymouth University spoke of current research by her Department of Molecular Sciences into local adaptation in UK populations of the black honey bee. The academic research draws on the bees from Mount Edgcumbe as well as from other sites including The Eden Project and Paignton Zoo.

Lord Teverson (currently serving on the EU Energy and Environment Committee) told us of the importance of conservation of specific honey bee species, and the hope that work with the native black bee will increase the survival potential of pollinators for the future.

Nick Bentham-Green, Chairman of BIBBA and also of BIPCo said that the Mount Edgcumbe Black Bee Reserve is an important step on the journey to gain some protection for the native honey bee.

The collaboration between beekeepers and Plymouth University has been facilitated by B4 for which Tim Smit is a patron, with money generously donated by NERC for a PhD, Tesco’s Bags of Help initiative for the Mount Edgcumbe Black Bee Reserve, and the Heritage Lottery Fund for preliminary genetic research looking at the degree of hybridisation of honey bees in Cornwall.


Maggie Freegard

Secretary West Cornwall Beekeepers Association

Mount Edgcumbe Country Park Black Bee Reserve  Opens 25th May 2017


B4 has secured £10000 of funding from Tesco’s Bags of Help initiative.

Bags of Help will see money raised by customers through the 5p bag charge go directly back into the local community.

The public bee display will be part of a breeding program to improve the indigenous stock of rare bees in the 800 acre Public Park at Mount Edgcumbe and will be the public interface of the Black Bee Reserve at the Park. We will not only be protecting a remnant population of the native Apis mellifera mellifera (Black honey bee) in the park but raise public awareness of the general plight of the bee populaton.

Improving the conservation linked displays, activities and access to Mount Edgcumbe will benefit the large population of Plymouth as the Country Park is a publicly-owned space.