10am to 4pm
Over the weekend you will get a chance to explore the role of skeps in beekeeping and look into methods of manufacture; consider other uses for what is actually a charming rustic container; start making a skep using tools that can be borrowed; be provided with sufficient long straw and binding cane to complete a skep; be shown techniques for both starting and finishing a skep and have a leaflet with diagrams to allow the skep to be finished at home.
This two-day course cost is £90, inclusive of tuition, teas and coffees. The museum café will be open or you can bring your own packed lunch.
Derek Slee has kept bees for 20 years having learnt the craft of beekeeping at Sparsholt Agricultural College, and has been making skeps for some 15 years. He is a member of the Petersfield and District Beekeepers Association and regularly demonstrates methods of skepmaking at country fairs and shows. He has provided museums in Hampshire with replicas of ancient skeps and has also explored the use of straw in other artefacts.
It is advisable to bring a pair of gardening gloves and an old towel or waterproof apron to rest across the knees because the straw will be damp.
All other tools and materials will be provided.
The Weald & Downland Open Air Museum has over 45 historic building exhibits. It is also home to the award winning and innovative Downland Gridshell, which houses a conservation workshop and artefact store, and is also used for many practical courses. The Museum runs a full programme of courses in historic building conservation and traditional rural trades and crafts, along with MSc programmes in Building Conservation and Timber Building Conservation validated by the University of York. Please telephone for further details.