Bee Urban, Kennington Park

I love Kennington Park. With is large tree-bordered fields, children’s play park, exercise equipment and cute cafe, it is everything a small urban park should be. But part of it has always remained slightly mysterious, to me at least.

The park-keeper's lodge, Kennington Park

Keeper’s lodge, Kennington Park

In one quiet corner sits the old park-keeper’s lodge. For many years it lay sad, derelict and empty, but then about six years ago Bee Urban took up residency, and things started to change. The broken windows were replaced. Pretty flowers began to emerge around the house, then a large wooden hut appeared next door. Most importantly a cluster of bee hives popped up in the back garden. As regular readers will know, I have long been intrigued by the magical qualities of bees. I live just round the corner from the park, and so I regularly pass the lodge, and have often stared longingly through the fence at this haven of peacefulness.

The entrance to Bee Urban, Kennington Park

The entrance to Bee Urban, Kennington Park

This past weekend, however, the gates were flung open for one of Bee Urban’s regular open days. At last I had the chance to step inside and find out what was going on.

Checking the hives at Bee Urban, Kennington Park

Checking the hives at Bee Urban, Kennington Park

I received a warm welcome from one of the Bee Urban folk, who gave me a talk about what they were up to both here and in other parts of South London. I looked at an amazing little display hive with glass sides which revealed the frantic goings-on inside. Unsurprisingly, the fragrant floral air was filled with buzzing bees, who seemed pretty indifferent to the influx of nosy visitors.

The wood-burning stove, Bee Urban

The wood-burning stove, Bee Urban

On one side a huge wood-burning stove smouldered, its smoky scent drifting over the sun-drenched garden. A small hive smoker sat next to it on top of one of the hives, a thin trail of white fumes curling out of its spout. It turns out that Bee Urban is open to the public every Thursday, and has weekend openings every so often too. There’s an exhibition inside the wooden hut, and even honey from the hives on sale.

A hive smoker, Bee Urban

A hive smoker, Bee Urban

But there is trouble looming for Bee Urban’s apian paradise. The new Northern Line extension will be laid right underneath this part of Kennington, and the plan is to build a huge, ugly ventilation shaft right on this site. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen. With its welcoming atmosphere, colourful wilderness garden and busy, buzzy bee community, Bee Urban is a magical little piece of rural calm in a distinctly urban setting.

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9 Responses to “Bee Urban, Kennington Park”

  1. How lovely to be able to buy local honey to you 🙂

  2. This is wonderful, I used to go to this park a lot when I lived in Camberwell a hundred years ago. Hope that shaft thing doesn’t ruin it.

    • It is a wonderful place, I am kicking myself that it has taken me so long to find it. And yes, let’s all hope it doesn’t get swept away in the name of ‘progress’…

  3. What a lovely blog, very proud to being part of it.

    Please follow us and look at the other

    http://www.projectdirt.com/project/7954/
    https://www.twitter.com/BeeUrbanLondon

  4. Hi we have another Open Day on 17th November and 15th December. We will also be at the Pullens Winter Open Studio event Iliffe Yard off Walworth Road 7th & 8th December with Honey from 3 Apiary’s, Bees Wax Candles, you can roll your own too. Also Nectar Rich seed papers, you can make these too. Plus other honey and wax products.

  5. lesley wertheimer Says:

    Come and join Bee Urban for our first open day of 2014. 26th Jan

    Honey from 4 apiary’s, Kennington Kiwi Jam and dried Kiwi slices, Kennington Gooseberry Jam, British Beeswax candles, seed paper made with our own harvested seeds Roll you own candles, make your own seed paper and more
    – See more at: http://www.projectdirt.com/apps/event/23689/#sthash.I65rwBL6.dpuf

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