Honey bees are set to return to Parcevall Hall, Skyreholme, after nearly 40 years - thanks to offenders and a unique local project organised by the Wharfedale Beekeepers’ Association.

The apiary project - which is due to be finished in July - will transform an area of land at Parcevall Hall into a bee paradise.

Two beehives are being installed, with a connected viewing hut, and once complete the apiary will be open to the public and will provide educational information and demonstrations to local schools.

Simon Croker, chairman of Wharfedale Beekeepers Association and a probation services officer, said: “Parcevall Hall has a long history of beekeeping going back several hundred years. It is with thanks to our partners that we are able to restore that legacy, support the declining bee population and encourage the visitors to learn more about this fascinating species.

“Involving offenders who are on probation has been incredibly successful. They have benefited from skills training and work experience that they may be able to use to secure future employment, something which significantly increases the chance they’ll stay crime-free.”

“I have seen real changes in the lads involved. They are taking great pride in their work and are making real steps to move forward with their lives.”

Simon raised more than £6,000 to kickstart the project and further funding came from Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, Yorkshire Dales National Park Sustainable Development Fund, Craven Lions and Wharfedale Naturalists Society.