heather in flower

About Us

The Association

Wharfedale Beekeepers' Association (WBKA) was formed in March 1921. It draws its 120+ members from a wide area, most of which falls within the valley of the River Wharfe in North and West Yorkshire, and the district of Craven (see map below). A large part of this area lies within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

We are a registered charity (No. 506891) which promotes beekeeping through education and training.

The Association is a member of the Yorkshire Beekeepers Association (YBKA) and British Beekeepers Association (BBKA), through which our full members have public liability insurance.

We welcome new members, including those who are also members of other associations who may join as associate members for a reduced fee.

We run beekeeping training courses, and provide support to our beekeepers through mentoring and practical help in our local groups. We have a calendar of social events and talks and provide a swarm collection service during the spring and summer. Members of the Association give talks, lectures and demonstrations to a wide range of groups including: children and young people, people with disabilities and special needs, special interest societies and other charities and voluntary bodies to promote awareness of the importance of bees.

WBKA has a number of apiary sites where members can keep their bees and also arranges access to a heather moor site for use when the heather is in flower.

The Committee

We are managed by a committee of members which meets roughly six times a year. Summaries of the meeting minutes are available from the downloads page. Meeting dates will be posted on the events calendar and the names of committee members are listed on the contacts page.

Please contact us for more information.

Wharfedale BKA Membership in 2016

Approximately 85% of our members are based in postcodes BD20, BD23, LS29, LS21 and LS20, but we aslo draw-in people from BB18, BD16, DB22, BD24, HG1, HG3, LS16, LS18 and LS19 and we have a few members from even further afield.

Our Constitution


CONSTITUTION AND RULES - 18th October 2000


The Association shall be called the Wharfedale Beekeepers Association.


The objects of the Association are the encouragement, improvement and advancement of beekeeping in Wharfedale and District and in the furtherance of the above but not otherwise to do such things as are necessary for the attainment of these objects.


Any person interested in beekeeping may become a member on payment of an Annual Subscription as shall be determined in General Meeting from time to time.

Full Members shall be entitled to vote at General Meetings.

Associate Members, who shall have an interest in beekeeping, but not be active beekeepers, and Juveniles under 18, shall pay a lesser subscription as shall be determined in General Meeting and shall have the privileges of the Association except that of voting at the meetings of the Association.

Honorary Life Membership may be conferred on those who in the opinion of the Association in General Meeting have given long and meritorious service to the Association.


The financial year shall begin on 1st October and subscriptions shall then become due.


There shall be a President, Vice-Presidents, Chairman and an Executive Committee consisting of the Chairman, the President (ex-officio), the Hon Secretary and the Hon Treasurer and up to six ordinary members to be elected at the Annual General Meeting who shall variously be appointed; Voting Delegate to YBKA, Editor of "Combings" and Librarian.

The Committee may cancel the membership of anyone whose continued connection with the Association would in its opinion be detrimental to the interests of the Association. The quorum for a meeting of the Committee shall be four.


The Annual General Meeting of the Association shall be held in October for the purpose of receiving reports, electing Officer Bearers and transacting business. The Secretary shall convene a Special General Meeting on receiving a requisition signed by five members indicating the business for which the meeting is to be held. The business shall be stated on the notice calling the meeting. The quorum for a General Meeting shall be six.


The Wharfedale Beekeepers Association is affiliated to the Yorkshire Beekeepers Association, and through them to the British BKA, and Full Members shall have the privileges of those Associations which includes Public Liability insurance for their bees.


These rules shall not be altered except by a two-thirds majority of the members present at the Annual General Meeting or at a Special General Meeting convened for that purpose. Any proposed alterations shall be stated on the notice calling the Meeting. No amendment shall be made which will cause the Association to cease to be a Charity-at-Law.


In the event of the Association being dissolved any assets remaining after payment of outstanding debts and liabilities sall be transferred to Yorkshire Beekeepers Association.

The above Constitution and Rules were approved at the Annual General Meeting held at Christchurch, The Grove, Ilkley on 18th October 2000

Association Privacy Policy

Wharfedale Beekeepers Association undertakes to collect and use your personal data in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Our legal basis for processing this data is our legitimate interest as a beekeeping association. We use the data for the administration of your membership, the communication of information and the organisation of events, training courses, assessments and exams. This information will be recorded in our membership database, which may be stored online in compliance with the GDPR. Our membership data is shared with the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA), the country’s largest charity dedicated to helping Honeybees and the beekeepers that look after them, and also with the Yorkshire Beekeepers Association (YBKA).

Your data may be processed by the YBKA and the BBKA acting as Data Processors on our behalf. They may only use it for the specific purposes for which they act as our data processors and they are not free to pass this on to other organisations that are not connected with the Wharfedale Beekeepers Association. Your personal data are not passed on by us for use by any other third parties whether or not connected with beekeeping. Full information about YBKA and BBKA data use policies, including how you can see what data they hold about you, how you can limit its use and how you can ask for inaccuracies in data to be corrected, may be found on the YBKA and BBKA websites.

What personal data does WBKA collect?

The data we routinely collect includes members’ names, addresses and email addresses. We collect this data directly from our members when they join the Association.

For some of our members we may have additional information such as committee memberships.

What is this personal data used for?

We use members’ data for the administration of your membership; the communication of information, and the organisation of events. We provide your data to the Yorkshire Beekeepers Association and British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) for their use as explained in the section below.

Who is your data shared with?

Your membership data are passed on to the YBKA and BBKA, of which you become a member when you join WBKA. Your personal data are passed on by YBKA to Northern Bee Books who produce YBKA Newsletter and to BBKA. BBKA only share your data with the Bee Disease Insurance scheme (BDI).

Where does this data come from?

Data for our members comes from them when they join the Association or when they sign-up for our beginners’ beekeeping courses. The information held by the YBKA and BBKA may be updated by the Association if you have given it permission to change your record.

How are your data stored?

This information will be recorded in our membership database, which may be stored online in compliance with the GDPR.

Who is responsible for ensuring compliance with the relevant laws and regulations?

Under the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) we do not have a statutory requirement to have a Data Protection Officer. The committee takes joint responsibility for ensuring the Association discharges its obligations under the GDPR. If you have any questions or concerns you should contact the Secretary via the Contact page.

Who has access to your data?

Members of the WBKA committee have access to members’ data in order for them to carry out their legitimate tasks for the organisation.

What is the legal basis for collecting this data?

WBKA collects personal data that is necessary for the purposes of its legitimate interests as a membership organisation representing Honeybees and Beekeepers. For some data, such as that relating to financial matters, the basis for its collection and retention is to comply with our legal obligations.

How you can check what data we have about you?

If you want to see the basic membership data we hold about you, you should contact the Membership Secretary via the Contact page.

Does WBKA collect any "special" data?

The GDPR refers to sensitive personal data as "special categories of personal data". We do not record any such special data.

How can you ask for data to be removed, limited or corrected?

There are various ways in which you can limit how your data are used. You could maintain your Association membership with your correct name but with limited contact details. However, we do need to have at least one method of contacting you. You could for example simply maintain an up-to-date email address, but of course this would limit what we and the BBKA are able to provide you with in the way of written information, so you would not be able to get Combings or the BBKA News delivered in printed form or any other benefits that require a postal address.

You may choose not to receive information emails from the Association (includng those forwarded to you on behalf of YBKA or the National Bee Unit).

You may ask for your detials to be changed at any time .

Any of these options can be implemented for your Association membership by contacting the Membership Secretary via the Contact page.

How long we keep your data for, and why?

We normally keep members’ data after they resign or their membership lapses in case they later wish to re-join for a period of 1 years. However, we will delete any former member’s contact details entirely on request.

Other data, such as that relating to accounting is kept for the legally required period. NOTE: as the Association is a charity claiming Gift Aid we may need to hold members details for up to seven years to comply with any future HMRC query.

What happens if a member dies?

We normally delete members’ information after if they die.

Beekeeping in Wharfedale

up the dale

The upper part of the dale has a landscape of moorland and rough pasture, up to 550m above sea level with stunning limestone scenery, scattered farms and small villages. This contrasts with the gentler more open fields and woodland of the lower dale and its principal towns, Skipton, Ilkley and Otley. This mixture of landscapes provides a wide variety of habitats and food sources for our bees with relatively little arable agriculture and few problems with crop spraying or monocultures such as Oilseed Rape. The population of the dale is concentrated mostly in the southern (lower) part and consequently, this is where most of the beekeepers are.

The lie of the land and local weather patterns result in spring coming noticeably earlier to the lower part of the dale than the upper, where winter comes sooner and stays a little longer. However bees do well here, benefiting from the Himalayan Balsam along the river in the late summer, the Heather on the moors in August and September and from the huge variety of garden plants and trees in the parks and gardens of the towns which give us a long flowering and foraging season in the lower part of the dale.

The vast majority of our members follow traditional beekeeping practice, using standard National hives and some WBCs although others are experimenting with top-bar hives and what is now being termed "bee-centric" beekeeping.