Philip Chandler


Philip Chandler - Gardening
The Barefoot Beekeeper is an agent provocateur: he has challenged just about every long-held belief, technique and method practised by modern beekeepers.Jean Vernon, The Telegraph


Hello I'm Philip Chandler. My early working life was spent mainly in printing, publishing, marketing and training. I took up beekeeping at the turn of the century, having campaigned against GM crops for several years and concluding that bees were a lot more important than most people realized. Conventional beekeeping seemed too mechanistic and bound up in Victorian attitudes towards nature, so I developed my own system based on top bar hives. A year spent working in commercial beekeeping at Buckfast Abbey convinced me that 'natural' beekeeping was the way to go. In 2005 I was awarded Advanced Certification by the National Diploma of Beekeeping Board. Having further developed my hive and techniques, I wrote The Barefoot Beekeeper in 2007 as a challenge to conventional beekeeping, and to put my case for reform. Since then, more than 30,000 people have bought my books and many of them have adopted top bar hives and natural beekeeping methods. Learning about beekeeping from books or distance learning can give us a broad understanding of their nature and behaviour, but of course there is a need to deepen that theoretical knowledge by practical, hands-on bee-handling. Many local beekeepers' associations provide open sessions for beginners to experience bees at first hand, and may also provide training courses. These tend to focus on the conventional, commercially-derived approach to beekeeping, and while attitudes are beginning to change in some places, you are unlikely to find a great deal of sympathy for top bar hives or natural beekeeping. My aim is to teach others to observe for themselves and to learn mainly from the bees.


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Awards & Accreditations

  • Royal Horticultural Society - Approved Centre 2023-2024
  • Royal Horticultural Society
  • CPD Accredited (provider 50276)
  • Digital Education Awards 2023 Winner for Digital Health and Wellbeing Learning Product of the Year
  • Digital Education Awards 2023 Winner for Adult Home Learning Product of the Year