Community Orchard Project

 

For many years improving the area behind the pond has been raised.  In 2017 a project was commenced to clear this area to develop a Community Orchard and improve the natural habitat.  A small working party was organized to start clearing the nettles, brambles, rubbish and debris from the site. By cutting back and removing the invasive plants like nettle and bramble it was hoped that grass and a wider variety of wild flowers would eventually flourish.

Many of the logs and branches littering the site have used to make natural fence along one edge of the orchard as a boundary, shelter for small animals and a massive bug hotel

In November 2017 a survey of the large trees (mainly Ash) on the site was undertaken and trees in poor condition were identified and removed in 2018.  Local residents were able to make good use of the resulting logs.  Clearing of the area of the area continued through 2018.

In October 2018. fruit from the three existing apple trees in the orchard were taken to Stamford Apple Day.  2 Trees were identified as Bramley Apple trees and the tree nearest the pond was an unknown apple – believed to be a seedling.  Bramley apples are good for cooking and also make nice juice.  The other tree produces nice eating apples but is a little inaccessible, being nearly in the pond!!

In 2019 two grants were applied for

  • For hedging plants from “I dig trees”, to develop a hedge on the boundary of the orchard with the school
  • Four more fruit trees from Orchards East Heritage Lottery Fund Project

We were successful in our applications.  The plants arrived and were planted in November 2019.  The hedging plants included Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Willow, Hazel and  Rowan.  The fruit tree varieties were a Victoria Plum tree, and 3 Apple varieties – Laxton Supreme, Egremont Russet and James Grieve, all eating apples. Despite the difficult weather conditions over the winter all of the trees and the nearly all  of the hedging have survived. The fruit trees will produce full sized trees eventually but will take a few years to produce a significant amount of fruit.

In 2020 several of the bird boxes,  erected in late 2019,  had  blue tits in residence by the spring. “Mowing” of the area continued with the use of a rejuvenated scythe.   The grass is coming and there are an increasing numbers of wild flowers visible.  In September two areas were dug over for the planting of wildflower seeds to hopefully further encourage the wild flower population. In October some spring bulbs of  small daffodils and English Bluebells plus some primroses were planted under the wild plum trees.

Many thanks to those who have helped with this project so far, including Andy Goodfellow, Pat Clarke, Yasmin Rogers, Roy Duncan, Jonathan Wray and Chris Wilson. We are usually at the Orchard on a Wednesday morning between 10 and 11.30.  It is always nice to see people coming down to look at the progress.  If you would like to join us please contact me, Alison Brown.  Otherwise please feel free to come and enjoy the area whenever you wish, and help yourself to the apples in the Autumn.