Malham Bee Library

The Bee Library (Malham)

This is the fifth of the Bee Libraries, and the first in a National Park. 

The book-nests, which are designed as dwellings for solitary bees, were installed in ash trees near Janet's Foss, Malham, in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The choice to only secure them in ash was a recognition of Ash Die-Back disease.

The books which I read and extracted poems from include Fabre's Bramble-Bees and Others, Frank Cheshire's 19th century English classic Bees & Bee Keeping, and a memoir by local beekeeper, Ken Pickles, Beekeeping in Wharfdale.

The photographs of the installation, by Hannah Devereux, were taken in July 2014, as part of her survey of all my bee-related projects across the British Isles. The poem-labels were photographed by Luke Allan on a research field-trip in 2012.

a black

the ash




at Barden & Blubberhouses
Chernobyl appears in traces

of caesium in the roots
of bilberry, crowberry & heather

The Wharefedale Beekeeper Ken Pickles became allergic
to his own heather honey following the Chernobyl disaster.

Walk Guide: To get to Janet’s Foss, walk North East out of Malham village along Gordale Lane. It’s a 15 minute walk. Follow the public footpath down into the woods. The first bee-nest is on your left as you enter. The last nest is on your left at the end of the wood, above the stream. All of the nests are on the path-side of the stream; most are on the stream-side of the path.


Latter, Oswald H., Bees and Wasps
Jackson, I.H., Bee-Keeping for Beginners
Fabre, J. Henri, Bramble-Bees and Others 
Hillman, J., Illustrated list of beehives and appliances
Whitehead, Stanley, Honey Bees and their Management
Mace, Herbert, Some Other Bees, Butterflies and Moths
Davies, Andrew, Beekeeping: Inspiration and practical advice for would-be smallholders
Edwardes, Tickner, Bee-Keeping for All: A Manual of Honey-Craft
Cheshire, Frank. Bees & Bee Keeping: Scientific & Practical, vol. II – Practical
Dainton, Courtney, Clock Jacks and Bee Boles: A Dictionary of Country Sights
Pickles, Ken, Beekeeping in Wharfdale
Pavord, A. V., Bees and Beekeeping

Bee Libraries: Alec Finlay
photography: Hannah Devereux & Luke Allan
Supported by Arts Council England and National Trust

Some of the poems which were produced from the books are published on The Bee Bole.

You can read about Ash Dieback on the Tiger Sheds website.

The bee bole home page
The Bee Libraries
The bee poems