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Heather Honey

The bees final move of the year is in early August up to the North Yorkshire Moors to harvest nectar from the heather. There are two main types of heather plants growing on the moors. The earlier flowering Bell Heather (Erica species) and Ling (Caluna Vulgaris)which flowers in August/September. It is the ling which produces the dark heather honey.

We take our bees to the moors just north of Kirbymoorside known as "The Gateway to the Moors" and the hives are watched over by a local farmer whilst tucked away behind drystone walls. We usually visit them at least once before they come home in mid September.

Traditionally thousands of hives are moved onto the moors each year, usually timed to coincide with the main flowering of the ling and the start of the grouse shooting season; the “glorious” 12th of August. Ling does tend to flower earlier now and sometimes hives appear in late July. The high moors even in August can be fickle with the weather and heather honey crops may not be big.

The honey itself is dark in colour with a strong flavour and a jelly like consistency. This makes it difficult to remove from the honeycomb and special techniques are needed.
Due to its relative scarcity, difficulty in harvesting and gourmet taste, heather honey commands a price higher than all other ‘local’ honey. It is much sought after though and for many customers is the honey to have on the shelf.