A 250,000-strong workforce is busy with production at the home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex, England. The bees in the company’s apiary are set to exceeded their 2020 volume targets for honey production already this year.
The English Honey Bees came through the winter in excellent health and have spent the spring emerging from their hives and foraging on the half-a-million trees, shrubs, and wildflowers growing across the 42-acre Rolls‑Royce site. Additionally, they fly among eight acres of sedum plants growing on the manufacturing plant’s ‘living roof’ – the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom.
Rolls-Royce’s factory sits on environmentally fragile landscape.
Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
Rolls-Royce says that, “the more adventurous bees make sorties into the surrounding Goodwood Estate, whose 12,000 acres of West Sussex countryside are among the glories of the South Downs National Park.”
The Goodwood Apiary consists of six traditional, English-crafted, wooden beehives, each bearing a polished stainless steel nameplate handcrafted in the company’s workshop. Five are named after cars in the Rolls-Royce product family – “Phantom”, “Wraith”, “Ghost”, “Dawn” and “Cullinan” – while the sixth, the ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’, celebrates the marque’s mascot.
At the end of each season, the bees’ honey is harvested and hand-processed by local specialists. It is then served to guests of the marque including customers who have commissioned the bespoke automaker to craft a vehicle for them.
“The Apiary further underlines our commitment to the environment, which informs everything we do at Goodwood,” says Richard Carter, Director of Global Communications at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Our sustainable buildings, thermal ponds, rainwater management systems and wildfowl refuge have already made the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood one of the UK’s most eco-friendly manufacturing facilities. Through this project, which taps into the biodiversity of our site, including our huge living roof, we’re making an important contribution to conserving Britain’s vital bee population.”
The honey is served to Rolls-Royce customers and guests.Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
In recent years, bees in the U.K. have seen their habitats destroyed and populations dwindle. The Bee Lines initiative, of which the Goodwood Apiary is a part, supports farmers and landowners in creating new flower-rich ‘corridors’ to link areas of habitat and help bees and other pollinator species to thrive. Residents and businesses within the National Park boundaries are also being encouraged to get involved through initiatives such as planting wildflowers in gardens and grounds.