BEE INSPIRED
Berkshire Life|April 2020
Bees are vital to our survival; they’re the world’s most important pollinator of food crops. Sarah Rodi speaks to Elisabeth Barton at Oakdale Bees in Windsor, who has fulfilled a lifelong passion to care for these marvellous creatures

At this time in the year, we start to hear bees humming about in our gardens, darting from flower to flower, poking their heads into petals to find nectar and pollen. Spring is a very busy time for these incredible insects. They help the flowers by spreading their pollen and this is vital for both the bee and the flower to reproduce. And we also benefit, as one-third of the food we eat depends on these pollinators.

Have you ever seen the Bee Movie with Jerry Seinfeld? In the film, the bees discover the humans are stealing their honey so they sue them and all their honey is returned to them, meaning the bees no longer have to work. The bees then stop pollinating flowers, so all plant life dies. This has always stuck with me as a reminder of how incredibly important these creatures are. And someone who knows this better than most is Elisabeth Barton, founder of Oakdale Bees in Windsor. Set in four acres of wild meadow fields, the apiary was founded by Elisabeth in 2015. She has always had a passion for bees and wanted to do her bit to abate the alarming decline in the species and the environmental eco system they support. We caught up with her to hear about the amazing work they do.

Where are you based?

Whilst I hail from North Yorkshire, Windsor has been home for over 30 years and I love it. We’re based at Oakley Green bordering Windsor Forest. With my husband, Mark, Bertie the Great Dane, Twiglet the wire-haired dachshund, Blue the cat, Indian runner ducks, doves, a wild parrot called Petunia and about one million bees, we are 10 years into a 20-year project to create a haven for wildlife.

What do you love about Berkshire?

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