Recipe : Honey Cake

One of our volunteers, Jana, has been baking with our own Charlecote honey. She has made a wonderful Czech Honey Cake and has shared the recipe on her blog. It takes THREE days to make this cake but it will be worth it!

Earlier this year I had a wonderful experience with the volunteer Bee Keepers at Charlecote Park and I was able to see inside the hives and how the honey was made.

It seemed only right that once the honey had been collected from the hives that I made something very special with it. I decided on a very old recipe and it all went so well together.

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The cake is made from a very old Czech recipe and is called ‘Medovnik’.

Medovnik translates as ‘Honey Cake’ and is one of the oldest cakes in Europe. It is very popular through Central, Northern and Eastern Europe and I have found that each area has it’s own twist on the recipe. This cake is not a quick cake to make as it takes three days from start to end but don’t let this put you off making it. It is well worth the effort. Plus, the second to the third day is the hardest as all you have to do is wait to eat it 🙂 This recipe can be cut down to two days if, instead of making your own caramel, you buy some ready made but I will explain this as I go along.

Read more of Jana’s blog to find out the method and ingredients required


How do you enjoy your honey? Smeared on toast for me! Perhaps I should try this recipe one day. Why not share your recipes with us? Leave a comment below or get in touch.

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Charlecote honey can be bought in our shop. We also use the honey in some of our dishes in the Orangery tea room. Find out more on the website.

Hive News (Jan/Feb 2015)

At this time of year there is little or no forage for the bees, and in a normal winter the temperature is too low for the bees to fly. The queen has stopped laying and the number of bees in the hive has fallen to around 5000 worker bees and the queen. The bees huddle together in a ball, clustering around the combs regulating the temperature by moving closer together when the temperature fall and spreading out when the temperature rises. One of the main pests that invade bee colonies is Varroa, a mite that feeds on the bee’s “blood”. One of our ways of managing those infections is to treat the colonies with a solution of oxalic acid, which irritates the mites and they drop off the bees.

This photo below shows a Varroa board to count the drop of Varroa mites after treatment.

This photo below shows a Varroa board to count the drop of Varroa mites after treatment.

This photo below shows a Varroa board to count the drop of Varroa mites after treatment.

The only source of food at this time, when the weather is too cold to fly and there is little forage available, is the food stored in the hive. We check the amount of stores and knowing that in the coming weeks the queen will be starting to lay we decided to supplement the bees stores with fondant icing which we lay above the brood comb for the bees to feed on. Later in February we may start to give them a weak sugar syrup to give the growing colony a good start to the Spring.

This photo below shows the fondant block being added to the hive, some of the cluster of bees can be seen.

This photo below shows the fondant block being added to the hive, some of the cluster of bees can be seen.

Busy as a bee: A day in the life of our volunteer photographer

Have you enjoyed the photos of Charlecote we’ve shared on our website, twitter or facebook? Chances are they were taken by the lovely Jana, our volunteer photographer. 

As well as taking photos for us, Jana also blogs about her photography and the places she visits. We’re delighted to feature quite regularly on her blog and felt it was about time we returned the favour!

Jana joined us recently to find out more about our bees and the team of volunteers who look after them…


“Setting out for Charlecote Park I was a little nervous as I was about to complete a new experience for me. I was going to be dressed in a Beekeepers outfit and photograph the bees, but what an experience it was, not only did I get to take photos and record what was going on inside the hives, but I also learned so much. The volunteer Bee Keepers explained all the different sections to me and showed me everything that was going on in the hives. It was really interesting and I was able to see the important bit – The Honey!”



Our thanks to Jana for sharing these stunning images and her enthusiasm for Charlecote. We can’t wait to see what other fantastic images she’ll capture in the months ahead!

We really do depend on our fantastic team of volunteers. They help us in ALL aspects of opening and caring for the site.
If you want to find out more about our current opportunities,  visit our website or contact us for an information pack and a chat.


Bee safari!

It has bee-n a very busy summer for us and our bees!

Last week we had a great #CheekyCharlies children’s club. It was bee, bug and bird themed so we had children here making bug hotels, creating wonderful multi-coloured birds and also finding out more about where our bees are and what they do! It gave children a chance to get closer to nature whist also ticking off some of their National Trust ‘50 things…‘. Here are a couple of photos…

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A little while before this children’s event we took part in an event for bigger kids – or as they like to be called, beekeepers.  In late July we were visited by a group from the Warwick & Leamington Beekeeping group. Some of our own volunteer beekeepers are part of the group so we were happy to extend an invite and show the group our set up.

One of the beekeepers on the visit was Tanya. She has her own hives but also helps to look after bees a neighbouring estate, Compton Verney. You can read all about the bee safari on Tanya’s blog ‘Girl meets Bee‘…

I’ve been teased by my friends and colleagues this week when I informed them that I was going on a Bee Safari yesterday. For many this may conjure up images of beekeepers clad in their beesuits standing in open top Land Rovers using binoculars to spot bees in the Warwickshire countryside. It wasn’t quite like that and having been on a Warwick & Leamington Beekeepers‘ Bee Safari last year, I knew what to expect.  Basically you meet about 15 other beekeepers at an apiary site and then you are led through inspections with a qualified national bee inspector, in our case it was Julian Routh. We started off at an apiary site in Combrook – a gorgeous quaint village in Warwickshire – then onto the bees kept at the National Trust property Charlecote Park (top pic) and then back to Combrook to inspect Liz and Stephen Bates’ bees. 

A day looking at and talking about bees – what could bee better…

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