Welcome to our News pages

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For this new website we are posting all news in a ‘blog’ format which, we hope, will enable members to post updates and news on a regular basis. It will take a little time to get things running regularly though – so news may appear in fits and starts to begin with.

The post you’re reading now will always be at the top, but you can scroll down to read the latest posts and there will also be links to them in the side-bar and from social media.

You can also search for particular news by clicking on the category headings under the title of this post. So, for example, to get all the news on our Longney Orchards just click on Longney in the category list.

Apple Days 2017 #3: Some seasonal pictures from Longney

Some pictures (and words) from Martin Hayes, documenting some of the recent work at our Longney Orchards.

We (particularly Martin) have been hard at work here this season – if you came to the orchards over the summer do come again soon and see what we have been up to in the interim.

Educational days have become much easier with our own orchards . With help from NE , TCTOP and Trust Juice we have had some great days.

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Apple Days 2017 #1: Days Cottage on the Radio

posted in: apple day, apples, audio, bees, orchard | 0

Harvest time is here and we’re in the middle of Apple Day Celebrations!

National Apple Day (established by Common Ground back in 1990) is set as the 21st October. But, as many orchard events effectively compete with each other, Apple Day celebrations are often spread over several weekends in October. So some have already happened, others take place over the next week or so (school half term).  For events near you try contacting community orchards in your area – our website listing hasn’t yet been updated but you can access the old list here: https://glosorchards.org/home/localorchards/

Apple Day at Days Cottage was last weekend and involved apples, bees, music, spoon-making and needle-felting!  BBC Radio Gloucestershire (Fay Hatcher’s programme) were on hand to record the celebrations and you can hear an extract below:

 

 

Topping, chipping, weeding, mulching – tidying up at Longney

posted in: GOT Events, Longney, orchard, pruning | 0

It’s the middle of our working weekend at Longney – which aims to clear away all the piles of prunings from the last year or so, get the orchards mown, weeding around the new plantings and mulching them with chippings (made from the prunings).

Topping is well underway, as local contractor Richard Dyer has already mown what can be reached in between the pruning piles.  So today, Saturday, the main task for our volunteers was clearing those prunings:  Extracting the cut branches from their piles (some overgrown with nettles), cutting them up where necessary and then feeding them to the chipper, hired for the weekend and paid for by our friends at Trust Juice (thanks Trust Juice).

Plus weeding around some of the new plantings in preparation to using some of the chippings as a mulch.  And some burning of material too difficult to chip. And retention of some larger wood for habitat creation.

How did it go today? Very well indeed. A good turn-out, a lot of effort, and a definitely obvious result – Long Tyning (the orchard we were in today) already looks very different.  And there’ll be more action tomorrow (Sunday 1st October) – turn up from 10am if you want to help…

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Fruit identification – what variety is that?

It’s that time of year again – when people start collecting, harvesting or simply noticing, fruit and quite often want to know variety of apple, pear etc they are picking or eating or looking at.

Is it unusual, rare, common? What is the best use of it – cider, perry, dessert, or cooking? And, if you have a lot, what are the keeping qualities?

There are many resources that can help – both within and outside GOT – and a few are listed below.

Firstly it’s worth noting that we are due to develop our ‘Varieties’ website at glosorchards.org/home/fruitvarieties soon – but unfortunately not in time for harvest this year.  However there are some archived resources from our old website available via that site – for a full index of those click here.

Secondly there are people who can help direct including:

  • Perry pears – contact Jim Chapman jjrchapman@btinternet.com (small charge)
  • Apples – the Marcher Apple Network www.marcherapple.net are experts – (proforma needed or visit at the shows they
    attend, including Malvern Autumn Show, Big Apple Harvest Time Weekend etc). (small charge)
  • Brogdale Horticultural Trust (by post, charge) http://www.brogdalecollections.org/
  • Apple Afternoon at Days Cottage – 8th October (details here) or bring small amounts to Stroud Farmers Markets
    on Saturdays to their stall

Or, thirdly, you could try DIY id online at Fruitid.com a national fruit self-identifying website with high quality photographs, more added continually and aiming to eventually have all tree fruits.

And, last but by no means least, you can look up local fruit varieties in GOT’s own publications, including

  • Pears of Gloucestershire and Perry Pears of the Three Counties, by Charles Martell (2013) and
  • Native Apples of Gloucestershire by Charles Martell (2014)

Both are available on our bookshop page here.

 

 

 

Stone Fruit Conference – a short report

The stone fruit conference at Hartpury College in August was a great success – well-attended and with wide-ranging talks.

Jim Arbury, Fruit Specialist at RHS Wisley, introduced us to plums and cherries, covering traditional and modern types and varieties, Helen Stace of Colwall Orchard Group told us the history of Colwall’s orchards, the entrepreneurial approach once taken by the local landowner in establishing orchards and fruit-processing around the whole village, and the recent work by the Orchard Group to restore the orchards.

Nick Dunn, from Frank P Matthews Trees for Life, reviewed stone fruit pests and diseases and new approaches to treatment. Jenni Waugh gave a lively talk on the importance of Pershore in plum production with particular emphasis on ‘how the Pershore Plum won the Great War’ (via jam for the troops!).

Paul Read, Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group, discussed the problems of stone fruit identification, particularly the opportunities from the new digital plum library and the FruitID website and Matt Ordidge, University of Reading, talked about the role of local collections and the context of the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale, now curated by University of Reading..

All this against a background of many stalls and displays manned by organisations and individuals from across the three counties and beyond.

The day demonstrated how valuable these get-togethers can be in getting participants up-to-date, briefed on the wider picture, meeting and networking and generally enjoying themselves.

Thanks to Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project for organising it, particularly Karen Humphries and her orchard champion volunteers. And to Hartpury College for an excellent venue. The pictures here are courtesy of Karen.

Gloucestershire Plum & Damson Trees for Sale

Sweet Damson, Walcot Nursery

Gloucestershire Orchard Trust is delighted to have collaborated with Walcot Organic Nursery, near Pershore, to sell an increasing range of Gloucestershire plum and damson trees.

The trees are on Brompton rootstock (vigorous, required for Countryside Stewardship and/or where cattle graze) and on St. Julien A rootstocks (less vigorous).

Some of these varieties are extremely rare, so this is a unique opportunity, not to be missed!

For more details please visit http://walcotnursery.co.uk/sections/gloucestershire-plums.html

 

 

Wick Court Workshops – Reading and Pruning

Last weekend we ran two workshops at the same time, both at Wick Court, Arlingham.  Martin Hayes led a workshop on the skills of summer pruning on old and young trees in the orchards around Wick Court.  At the same time Jim Chapman led a group around the estate discussing how to ‘read’ the orchards, combining historical research and field observations to work out how the orchards developed over the centuries.

Here’s a brief slide show of some of the day’s activities:

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Thanks to the Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project for sponsoring these events.

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Wyre Forest Cherry Orchard Visit

posted in: GOT Events, orchard, stone fruit | 0

GOT members and volunteers enjoyed a fascinating afternoon at the Wyre Forest on Saturday 22 July 2017 by kind invitation of hosts John & Linda Iles at Unclys Farm near Bewdley.

During the visit we saw oak woodlands of varying management and some 100 year old cherry orchards with abundant wildlife.

Wildlife on the day included a hobby chasing young housemartins, fallow deer plus wildlflowers cow wheat (Melampyrum pratense) and narrow-leaved helleborine (Cephalanthera longifolia).

The site is part of Ruskin’s Guild of St. George www.guildofstgeorge.org.uk . It is run as a Community Land Trust, with social enterprise and community involvement at its heart.

 

One of the neighbouring orchards formed part of a national ecological study (one of six traditional orchards) by Natural England which shows traditional orchards are a rich habitat for biodiversity (home to up to 1800 species of fauna and flora). Orchards have since become national priority habitat.

 

 

Thanks to funding by the Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project and Heritage Lottery Fund:

 

Orchard Exhibition at Gloucester Life Museum

Today we launched our Orchards Exhibition at Gloucester Life Museum, where it will stay until just before Christmas. The launch party was a modest affair, but was attended by many of our most enthusiastic supporters! This is the first time we have created an exhibition of this sort and we are hopeful this approach will enthuse an even wider audience than usual.

We are very grateful to Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project and the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the exhibition and to Gloucester Life Museum for hosting it.  You can see it at the Museum until mid-December, and after that some of the panels will transfer to the barn at our orchards in Longney. Some pictures from today’s launch follow below as a slide show.

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GOT’s new logo

posted in: GOT Events, orchard | 0

We now have a new logo (and we hope you like it!)!  Designed for us by Gloucester-based designer Jane Bromham the image aims to visually represent orchards themselves – both trees and fruit – and activity –the need for active management and the social opportunities this provides. The exact colour scheme is not yet finalised, but it will usually be in shades of green. Though variants will be possible – the three versions below, for example, are from the display boards for our new exhibition in Gloucester Life Museum (being launched on June 30th – details on our Events pages here):

 

 

Stone fruit: An orchard conference, August 19th

posted in: orchard, stone fruit | 0

The Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project have just announced details of Stone fruit: An orchard conference. Taking place on Saturday 19th August in the lovely setting of Hartpury College, this is an exciting opportunity for orchard enthusiasts, fruit lovers, growers and researchers to come together to network and share experiences, knowledge and resources.

The line up of speakers includes Jim Arbury (RHS), Nick Dunn ( RHS, Frank P Matthews), Helen Stace (Colwall Orchard Group), Jenni Waugh and Professor Maggie Andrews (University of Worcester), Paul Read (Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group) and Dr. Matt Ordige (University of Reading), covering topics as diverse as pests and diseases to social history and local collections. And while the emphasis is on traditional orchards we’ll also be looking at what the future holds for growing and conserving our local stone fruits.

At lunch time you’ll be able to browse an orchard ‘bazaar’ – stalls offering advice and information , including Natural England, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Walcot’s organic nursery, Bewdley cherry expert, Brian Stephens, The People’s Trust for Endangered Species and local orchard and conservation groups. There will also be a chance to look at Gloucestershire Orchard Trust’s pioneering LOMIS orchard mapping system, now being trialled in their orchards.

Do bring along your own stone fruit to add to a display table – let’s see how many varieties we can show !

Full details on our Events page here or go direct to the booking page at Eventbrite here.

Creative Camping at Longney

posted in: disability, Longney, orchard, schools | 0

Our Longney Orchards were host this month to Creative Camping, run by a Gloucestershire-based project running innovative children’s services projects.

The camping project enables disabled and non-disabled teenagers to spend the weekend together under canvas, encouraging self agency, positive risk taking, cooperation, friendship and inclusion. And, in this location, also helping build understanding and appreciation of traditional orchards! Here are a few pictures of the camp this month – more are planned.

You can find out more about Creative Camping and Creative Sustainability CIC (who run the camps) on their website here: http://www.cscic.org/info/

‘Creative Camping is not just an event is a place close to my heart. Before going to creative camping I was a shy a non-confident person who was too sacred to talk to new people …’

AGM 2017 and Longney Orchards

posted in: GOT Events, Longney, orchard | 0
The Severn Bore from the Anchor Inn. Picture borrowed from Karen Humphries of TCTOP.
The Severn Bore from the Anchor Inn. Picture borrowed from Karen Humphries of TCTOP.

Our AGM on 29 April at the Anchor Inn in Epney was enjoyed by all, starting off with a wonderful view of a 3 Star Severn Bore conveniently coinciding with the meeting’s opening time.

John Iles on Wyre Forest orchards photo by Jim Chapman.jpg
John Iles on Wyre Forest orchards. Photo by Jim Chapman

The business of day – reports, elections and updates on variety research – was then quickly finished and followed by a fascinating and very inspiring presentation by John Iles on cherry orchards in the Wyre Forest.

The Wyre Community Land Trust have restored many orchards in the area, where many feature within the assarts (clearings) of the forest. They have had both HLF and Higher Level Stewardship funding though they are concerned about the future, particular what will replace the HLS scheme. They also have some commercial enterprise including a juicing business on a farm in the area.
Members and guests staying until the afternoon had lunch at the pub before travelling just up the road to our orchards at Longney.

Here we held a walkabout around the 18 acres of traditional orchards, showing members and visitors all the work in progress, thanks to the hard work of our volunteers. This includes new plantings of national, regional and local heritage collections of plum & cherry with the entire Gloucestershire apple collection being planted at the end of this year.

Some pictures of the walkabout are posted below (click to enlarge any photo):

Longney Walkabout after AGM 2017 photo by Juliet Bailey
Longney Walkabout after AGM 2017. Photo by Juliet Bailey
Longney Walkabout after AGM2017 photo by Juliet Bailey
Longney Walkabout after AGM 2017. Photo by Juliet Bailey

GOT’s new YouTube channel is now live!

posted in: Longney, orchard, video | 0

As part of our new website project we are planning to do a lot more with social and interactive media, including video, and so we are pleased to announce that our new YouTube channel is now live and available to visit at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwhbZYL3QnP2kTZ61exoQJg

So far we have 4 videos, all made for us by by Sarah Pitt and David Parkinson last year, and all starring our chairman Keith Turner talking about specific orchard issues including maintenance, choosing the right root stock, and orchard biodiversity, Here he is explaining why orchards are magic places:

 

Blossom Time #2 Apple Blossom

posted in: blossom, GOT Events, orchard | 0

The Perry blossom is nearly over now, but Apple Blossom time is just beginning. Here are a few close-ups of different varieties in flower – though they really are best seen en masse in an orchard.

Why not visit one of GOT’s orchards or orchard centres in the next few weeks to admire the blossom? Details of locations are available on the Our Orchards page. Or go to one of the organised blossom time events. A few are listed in our events listing – click here for just the blossom events..

Coming soon (29th April): AGM , plus talk on Wyre Forest Orchards and walkabout at Longney

posted in: GOT Events, Longney, orchard | 0

Saturday 29 April 2017 at The Anchor Inn, Epney. 10am-1pm, with walkabout after lunch.

AGM plus Guest speaker John Iles, Founder and a Director of the Wyre Community Land Trust, who will be talking about ‘The orchards of the Wyre Forest; a new chapter’.

John says “with Heritage Lottery Fund money and Higher Level Stewardship, we have restored many orchards which need careful maintenance to come to maturity and production. The HLF scheme is now over and we will have HLS schemes coming to an end over the next few years with uncertainty as to what will come next. Many of the sites are SSSI so will be protected. We have helped set up a commercial juicing business on a farm in the area and so many of us are now using that service to juice our fruit.”

Lunch available at the pub, and we will follow the meeting and talk, at 2 to 2.30-4pm, with a walkabout at GOT’s Longney Orchards, a short distance from the pub.

About the venue and the AGM:

The function room upstairs for meetings has a superb river view. Plenty of parking. Attendees to place food orders on arrival. For pub details and map http://whatpub.com/pubs/GLO/0213/anchor-epney Nominations Any nominations for officers (chairman, vice-chairman and treasurer) and other items for discussion should be submitted to me, Ann Smith (coordinator/secretary) at least 10 days prior to the AGM. Please note that we are especially looking for a new Chairman as Keith Turner would like to retire. We are also looking for Membership Secretary, Publicity/Exhibition Officer and Online Coordinator. Ann will continue as Company Secretary. Can you help please? ann@smithcovell.co.uk 109 Orchard Way, Churchdown, Gloucester GL3 2AP

Free for GOT members (and their household) and £2 for non members (waived if you join on the night).

About the new website

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This will be the new website for the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust (GOT).  It is under construction at present – our existing website at gloucestershireorchardtrust.org.uk is the place to find information until this site is complete. Feel free to explore the structure, but please note that the content is not yet complete and there are editing notes on most pages. And there are not many pictures yet – but there will be many more soon.

We hope to have the new site up and running fairly well in time for our AGM on 29 April 2017. The aim is to split the current site into several sections, this main site describing GOT and what it does, with news, information on events and how to get involved.  We hope to build much stronger social media links as part of this.

Specialist websites

The sections in our current website on Fruit Varieties, Local Orchards and Orchard Advice will be rebuilt as subsites alongside the main site – these are also being built at present and available via the links below.  Note that these sites will take longer to build, so may not be ready before the end of April:

Navigation

Primary navigation for each website (the main one and the specialist ones) is via the menu below the logo at the top of the page. This will be a bar across the page on a wide screen or a drop-down on a smaller screen or phone. The menu above the logo has short-cut links to the various specialist sites and back to the main site.

The Side-bar

The side-bar will provide short-cuts and feeds to our blog, facebook, twiiter feeds etc – formatting is not yet finalised.

A note on the logo

We are currently reviewing our logo, so the websites you see under construction all use different variants at the moment, just to see how they work.

The OrchardMarketplace website

The future of the Marketplace website, currently managed by GOT at https://orchardmarketplace.org.uk/ in association with the Orchard Network is under review and an announcement will be made soon.

Trust Juice launched!

posted in: Juice, orchard, schools | 0

Trust Juice is pressed unsprayed apples from Gloucestershire orchards, including our own Gloucestershire Orchard Trust orchards at Longney.

The fruit is picked by volunteers, including a little help from students from the Apperley Centre, the Shrubberies School.

The aim is to give all the profits made from sales of Trust Juice to organisations and activities related to the conservation and celebration of traditional orchards in Gloucestershire, including Gloucestershire Orchard Trust.

Trust Juice is available £24 for 12 bottles.

Phone Martin Hayes 07900 985679 or Alison Parfitt 01242 584982.

Alison Parfitt alisonparfitt@phonecoop.coop