About us

Kings Orchard is a smallholding situated in the pretty village of Harrowbarrow, just off the A390 in the picturesque Tamar valley in Cornwall. To find us go to the Our Location page.

Here we keep various different types of livestock such as chickens, ducks and guinea pigs (not really livestock!) and, of course, our bees. In fact, our beehives are scattered across quite a large part of the Tamar valley.

We produce chicken and duck eggs for local consumption and a selection of bee related products, such as honey (of course) and several different types of merchandise based on beeswax. These are all available individually or packs of different combinations. These can be purchased by visiting us (see the Our Location page), from one of the local shows we sell at (see our Home page), from several retail outlets across Cornwall and Devon (see the Retail Outlets page) or online from our Products page.

We will also soon be running courses on bee keeping from our barn, pictured on the left. Watch this space.

We are very proud of our bees. Honeybees are one of the many insect pollinators of our fruit crops. It seems that, along with bumblebees, the population has been in decline over the last few decades. Habitat loss, use of pesticides and climate change may all be playing their part, however I think the decline in honeybees may be due to the decline in the number of beekeepers! Three years ago a number of local beekeepers got together to form a new Branch of the Cornwall Beekeepers Association called the Kit Hill group.

Experienced beekeepers are helping new beekeepers to overcome the sometimes quite daunting problems that our charges present us with. At Kings Orchard we have been refining our own strain of New Zealand Italian honeybee for the last five years, selectively breeding for good temper, low swarming tendency, frugality with winter stores and prolific honey production. By raising our own queens locally we have not added to the number of bees imported into the UK annually and the propensity of bringing in bee viruses that are spread by the dreadful Varroa mite.

We also breed the Cornish black bee… the endemic bee to these islands since the last ice age and first mass importation of bees from Europe in the 1850s… and it may even be the solution to Varroa as they seem to be showing a natural resistance.