at Bailgate Books, Mattersey


Our main apiary is in the village of Mattersey and the bees forage in the surrounding agricultural area which straddles the Nottinghamshire/South Yorkshire boundary.


We also have an apiary situated on a lavender farm in the village of Heapham in Lincolnshire.


The honey produced at these apiaries is predominately made-up of nectar from arable crops but also include nectar from the trees, hedgerows and gardens of the surrounding countryside and villages.


The honey that we sell is produced by our own bees and can be bought directly from us or from Mattersey Post Office and other local outlets in the surrounding area.


We are able to post honey to UK addresses, if you require this service please contact us to discuss costs.


Please contact us to discuss your honey requirements, large or small.

Nick Wollaston, beekeeper

Bailgate Books Ltd.

Malt Kiln House
Everton Road
DN10 5DS

01777 816723

e-mail: [email protected]




Bailgate Books’ beekeepers are a family of beekeepers who have been nurturing bees and producing honey for more than 60 years.  Raymond Wollaston has been a beekeeper producing prize-winning honey in East Yorkshire since the 1950’s.  Now retired, he provides invaluable advice on all aspects of beekeeping and honey production.  Nick Wollaston, his son, has worked with bees from his earliest years and is our active beekeeper and producer of prize-winning honey.  All the family assist Nick and we also design and make beeswax candles.


Our honey has been recommended in the Sunday Telegraph and in The Good Food Producers Guide 2010


Bees collect nectar from tree blossoms and flowers and within the hive turn it into honey.  The beekeeper collects the honey from the hives, nothing is added; our product is pure honey.  The flavour of honey is dependent upon the variety of flowers.


Whilst the bees are collecting the nectar, they also collect pollen grains.  Most of the pollen is stored separately and fed to the bee larvae but the bees mix a small amount in with the nectar and it is present in honey.  The type of pollen present is dependent on the flower variety.  Our detailed knowledge of the locality and season of collection of our honey gives us information about which types of nectar and pollen form the likely basis of our different types of honey.


All honey is liquid when newly made by the bees, but all honey will granulate in time.  The granulation time depends on the temperature at which the honey is kept and, more importantly, upon the flower source of the nectar.  Honey made from rape flowers granulates very quickly – within a few weeks of being made, honey from most tree blossoms granulates fairly slowly. 


Bottled honey that has granulated can be restored to its liquid state by warming (not heating) gently, eg in a warm water bath, by placing in an airing cupboard etc. The quality of honey is not dependent on its liquid or granular state.


If honey is allowed to granulate in the comb it has to be heated to separate it from the wax of the comb and the flavour is likely to be impaired.  Our honey is extracted from the comb whilst liquid either by “spinning” or by pressing.  We very rarely heat our honey to extract it from the comb.


Some honey naturally has a very firm (hard) set.  We “cream” some of our honey by stirring it during the granulation process which breaks down the crystals and produces a permanent soft-set honey.  Other honey we allow to set fully and we sell some honey in its liquid “runny” state. 


Changes in farming in the last thirty years or so have significantly affected honey production.  Whilst honey used to be made from widely available mixed nectars of hedgerow, garden, orchard, meadow, moorland and woodland flowers and blossoms, most English honey is now based on the farmed flowering crops, in this region this is usually rape, beans and, more recently, borage and possibly linseed.  These types of honey are in no way inferior to traditional honey, just different.


At Bailgate Books we are committed to recreate the very traditional flavour of English honey as well as producing the flavour of today’s more usual English honey.


Some years we take hives to the North York Moors in late summer to collect the nectar for the most valued of traditional English honey - heather honey.  This is always a risky venture: if the weather is typically British – lots of mist and rain – the bees can’t collect nectar and will return without honey and in a weakened state for the winter and some hives won’t make it through to the next spring without significant additional feeding.


The bees in our hives at our home in the village of Mattersey in north Nottinghamshire have access to nectar from willow (farmed as bio mass fuel), oil seed rape, bean and linseed and between these crops collect from the local mixed coniferous and deciduous woodland and village garden, orchard, riverside, meadow, verge and hedgerow flowers and blossoms.  When available we move our hives close to borage to allow the bees to produce borage honey.


The bees in our hives at the lavender farm in Heapham in north Lincolnshire have access to  nectar from rape and beans and, also collect from  village garden, orchard, verge and hedgerow flowers and blossoms, with the addition of some nectar from the lavender  during the summer.



Bee Facts


  • There are between 20,000 and 60,000 bees in a hive, most of these are worker bees with a handful of drones and one Queen Bee.
  • Honey bees often fly up to 4 miles to collect nectar from flowers, and another 4 miles to take it back to the hive.
  • On average, bees fly the equivalent of three times around the world to produce 1lb of honey.
  • All the worker honey bees in a hive are the daughters or sisters of the Queen.
  • Honey bees will only sting if they are frightened or if the hive is being threatened. Honey bees are more likely to be frightened of you if you approach the front of their hive wearing brightor light colours.
  • In summer worker bees usually only live for 4-6 weeks but in winter they can live for more than 6 months, Queens can live for 1-4 years.
  • Some worker bees spend all day collecting nectar.Other worker bees spend all day working in the hive.




Honey Facts


  • Honey sealed in pots and placed in Egyptian tombs over 2000 years ago is still edible.
  • Bees make honey by evaporating water from nectar and adding enzymes, the flavour of honey is dependent on the type of flower.
  • Bee-keepers look after the bees, extract the honey from the combs and bottle it.Nothing is added to the honey by the bee-keeper.