Honeybees are a key part of the site at Offshoots, we keep a small number of colonies on site which are viewable in display hives. The rest of our bees are close by in our apiary in Towneley park.
We are constructing a honey processing room which beekeepers will be able to extract and process their honey in, and you will be able to see how honey gets from the beehive to your honey jar.
We run educational sessions with local communities, schools, colleges, and local residents plus training on introductory bee keeping. The site at offshoots has lots of ideas for bee friendly planting which can be replicated in your school or your home.
The honey bees we keep are the native black bee honey bee. We are committed to the conservation of this particular honey bee and have had several projects dedicated to increasing the resilience of native honeybees in Pennine Lancashire. We work with black honey bees as we think they are more resilient to climate change as they are adapted to cool NW Europe conditions and therefore better able to survive here than bees from southern Europe.
We are also pioneering bee hives in public open spaces through the use of our bee cages. These cages protect bee hives from damage and ensure a high level of flight for your bees meaning they are a great way to introduce bees to your schools grounds.
At Offshoots, we put into practice organic and no dig principles using many techniques to maximise our yield whilst minimising our damage to the earth. On site you can learn about Permaculture, organic growing and the benefits of no dig gardening.
We use a four year crop rotation to minimise pests and diseases and many organic methods of control such as companion planting, cultural controls and barriers and encouraging natural predators.
We have demonstration raised vegetable beds, herb beds, a herb spiral, sensory garden, bee garden and forest garden showing plant stacking with many varieties of top and soft fruit together with composting and mulching bays. There are two polytunnels and a lean-to greenhouse with heated propagation mats and cold frames to extend the growing season.
We also have a small demonstration backyard garden - similar to those attached to 55% of local households to display container gardening techniques.
Offshoots is perfect for small groups and practical sessions, you can bring your group to try different traditional skills; from green woodwork or dry stone walling to processing timber or blacksmithing.
Book a bespoke series of sessions for your group which will be accredited through the AQA award scheme. Pupils can learn new skills together, develop the ability to team work and receive formal recognition for their work.
Towneley Park is a great place to run cycling sessions from, with a network of cycle ways passing through the park.