NESTLED away in a historic Monmouth side street is a small shop with big ambitions.

The Bee Shop, on Agincourt Street in the town, is run by Bees for Development, the charity helping some of the world's poorest people to make a living through beekeeping.

The shop is packed full of a plethora of bee-related items which are sold to support the charity.

Visitors are welcomed in by the aroma of beeswax and honey, and can explore the natural products which are all made by harnessing the power of bees.

"Lots of items in the shop are unique," said head of fundraising Richard Harrington.

"We make our own candles on site with beeswax provided by beekeepers in Ethiopia, Uganda and elsewhere.

"On the shelves today we have honey from Zambia, Cameroon, Italy, Lithuania, the south of France, as well as many varieties of locally produced South Wales honey.

"You can also buy balms, skin creams, cosmetics and various bee-themed gifts, beekeeping equipment and books."

The store, situated opposite Monmouth's historic Shire Hall, opened in 2011.

The building it is based in was restored so the charity is able to run all of its work from the premises, in rooms out of sight behind the shop.

The shop is looked after by shop manager, Donna Regan, and staffed by the charity's employees and volunteers. This means customers can get expert advice about what to buy, how to start beekeeping, and learn about how they might help people in poorer countries to build a sustainable living.

For those customers who are interested in taking up beekeeping but have not got the faintest idea of where to start, help is at hand.

There is training available through Bees for Development which focuses on the wellbeing of the creatures as much as the byproducts.

"We especially offer training in what's called natural beekeeping," said Mr Harrington.

"This is where the care of the honey bee is the focus rather than it being seen solely as a producer of honey.

"We also sell a special Bee House which you can place on a building or tree, attracting bees without the owner ever having to disturb the hive or harvest honey."

The charity also hold events around the topic of bee conservation and the sustainability it can lead to.

"We have a very special event on January 30," said mr Harrington.

"An evening with Monty Don and Bill Turnbull, at the Monmouth Blake Theatre.

"Both are well-known figures and will talk about various topics they are known for, as well as their less-known passion for beekeeping."

Bees for Development also run the Bee Festival in Monmouth (Sunday May 3), to celebrate all things bee-related. It is growing in popularity each year and brings many individuals, community groups and traders to the town.

Beekeeping can be very good for wildlife and biodiversity. The shop sells ethically sourced and environmentally friendly products, mostly in plastic-free packaging. They also don't sell products containing palm oil, or animal products other than bee products.

Bees for Development has helped Monmouthshire County Council develop its pollinator-friendly management of public spaces and roadside verges, and has worked with local councils and businesses to make Monmouth the UK's first "Bee Town".

Monmouth Bee Town maps are available to pick up in-store and can guide you around the various spots in the town where pollinator-friendly public spaces and gardens are located. They also include sites where wild bees can be spotted.

For those with a passion for adventure, the charity runs unique Bee Safaris around the world, to northern Ethiopia, Uganda, France and the tropical islands of Trinidad and Tobago. All raise funds for their vital work.

Some items are available mail order on the Bees for Development website at