Welcome to our News pages

We are now posting all news in a ‘blog’ format which should help us post updates and news on a regular basis. The post you’re reading now will always be at the top, – scroll down to read the latest posts. There are also links in the side-bar and from social media. You can also search for news by clicking on the category listings above this text.

A successful Christmas market at Hartpury Orchard Centre

posted in: cider, Hartpury, orchard, perry | 0

From Jim Chapman:

A very good turn out for the first Christmas market at Hartpury Orchard Centre last weekend!

Warm enough for folk to sit around outside enjoying a pint of perry, a mulled cider or a mug of homemade soup!

The Gloucester cattle in the orchard took an interest too!

Holly and mistletoe were popular – we should have cut more, and freezers are now well supplied with locally reared meat. The Old Spot burgers particularly popular and one kid has since asked Father Christmas for more of those sausage rolls!

Already planning for a bigger and better one in 2023!!

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Henley Bank Orchard News

posted in: Henley, orchard | 0

Work to clear much of the many years of overgrowth at Henley Bank began today.

Contractors Greenfields were on site at 0800 to start clearing around some of the trees and enable us to assess them, manage them and, ultimately, crop the fruit.

The work will take a few days to complete and the site won’t be open for general access for a while yet as we have to assess tree safety.

Many thanks to Meyrick Brentnall for masterminding this stage of the works.

Preliminary work – a tractor powered unit will follow afterwards

 

Longney Orchard News

This picture, taken by Ann, shows Stuart Smith after the planting work

Ann Smith writes:

Today we planted more Gloucestershire plum trees at GOT’s Longney Orchard and replaced one or two apple trees. The soil is good quality and drains well.

Sheep continue to graze the orchards. The flocks of fieldfares and redwings were enjoying the fallen apples.

A tattered red admiral butterfly warmed itself on the barn brickwork in full sun on this mild November day. It was rather tattered, weary from a long year chased by birds or perhaps it was tipsy from the fermented fruit! Will it survive the winter? They are known to enter a dormant state and the barn would certainly provide shelter.

The fieldfare pictures below were taken by John Fletcher, who is a regular birdwatcher at Longney.

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BBC feature on local orchards

The BBC news website featured traditional orchards last week, timed to coincide with Apple Day.

It highlighted the work being carried out to conserve orchards, and traditional varieties, locally and regionally in Somerset and Gloucestershire  The article also highlighted the work of PTES and the Orchard Network nationally.

For Gloucestershire both GOT and the Wildlife Trust were mentioned, discussing local sites and the work being done to find and conserve local varieties.

For the full article click here:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-63298873

Pictures from Days Cottage Apple Day

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The perry pear painting on the bench is by Chris Bingle, whose work can be seen at subtlecolours.com

Apple Days are here

Have you been to an Apple Day this season yet?  Many of our local events have happened already (click on our Past events tab to see these), but some are still to come.

National Apple Day was launched in 1990 by Common Ground. Their aspiration was to create a calendar custom, an autumn holiday. From the start, Apple Day was intended to be both a celebration and a demonstration of the variety we are in danger of losing, not simply in apples, but in the richness and diversity of landscape, ecology and culture too. It has also played a part in raising awareness in the provenance and traceability of food.

The concept was initially set as 21st October but, in practice, the date is variable depending on which area you’re in and what orchard group is doing what.

It has become incredibly successful over the 30 years since – with events taking place all over the country organised by local orchard and apple groups, across a range of dates throughout October.

For information on Apple Day events around the country visit https://ptes.org/campaigns/traditional-orchard-project/orchard-network/apple-day/

https://www.commonground.org.uk/apple-day/

Grafting Workshop, Winterbourne Barn, 18th February 2023

Winterbourne Barn’s annual grafting workshop will take place on Saturday 18th February 2023 from 10am to 4pm.

Come and learn how to graft apple trees on this course under the tuition of Ben Raskin, a previous commercial fruit grower and an enthusiastic, effective and very knowledgeable teacher, now Head of Horticulture at The Soil Association.

Visit www.winterbournebarn.org.uk/events and scroll through until you come to Apple Grafting for details.

Or, to see booking information, go to https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/winterbourne-medieval-barn-trust/t-avvoeav

Celebrate Apple Day at Horfield Organic Community Orchard – Sunday 16 Oct, 2-4pm

All are welcome to celebrate Apple Day with Horfield Organic Community Orchard
Sunday 16 October, 2 – 4pm

Details at http://www.community-orchard.org.uk/public-events or click here for flyer/poster 

Turning Bristol into an orchard city since 1998

  • Fruit trees for sale*
  • Tasting table – sample local and less common varieties
  • Fresh-pressed juice and home made cake for sale
  • Local produce for sale
  • Pests and problems? Ask the experts!
  • Join the orchard as a Friend and support our work

To find the orchard (nearest postcode BS7 8JP)
Walk down the lane beside 22 Kings Drive (between Bishop Rd & Kellaway Ave), turn left and enter the first gate on the right.
OR
Take the lane beside 134 Longmead Ave until you come to the third gate on the left.
Dogs on leads, please.

Contact: hocohello@gmail.com
phone: 0117 373 1587
http://www.community-orchard.org.uk/public-events

*Pre-ordering recommended to avoid disappointment.
See the HOCO website for more information:
http://www.community-orchard.org.uk

Preparing for Apple Day at Days Cottage

Helen and Dave at Days Cottage have been busy setting up the displays for their Apple Day next Sunday (16th October, 1-4pm).  Helen has sent these pictures and notes:

This is part of the Gloucestershire collection – there will 90 varieties altogether of which 45 are Gloucestershire ones from the Days Cottage Museum Orchard.

Here are a few of the Gloucestershire varieties, starting with the delightfully named Hen’s Turds, followed by Gloucester Royal and then Ben Lans. Such beautiful fruit this year:

the next picture shows the genetic instability of Siddington Russet…you can see 2 heavily russeted apples and 2 smooth green ones all on the same branch!

And lastly Cambridge Queening…a gorgeous apple from Cambridge, the village south of Gloucester on the A38. It is the best variety for making Tarte Tatin. Helen writes that they had a chef at one of their Apple Days who made lots of Tarte Tatins with different varieties and Cambridge Queening won the taste test hands down! Also known as Cambridge Quoining…thought to be from the angled shape reflecting quoin stones used on the corners of buildings.

Shaking the Severn Bank

Helen from Days Cottage getting a full work out while shaking a Severn Bank apple tree in the Museum Orchard at Day’s Cottage.

She writes that ‘we’ve used the fruit to make a first experimental barrel of 100% Severn Bank as the crop has been so heavy this season. Will let you know how it turns out next year.’

Apples for sale, Randwick

posted in: apples, harvest, orchard | 0

Orchard at Humphreys End , Randwick , Stroud (Croft farm)

For sale – An abundance of different eating/cooking apples – 15 large saplings of Gloucestershire varieties.

Also Bramleys and Newton Wonders from 8 mature trees.

Ripening from mid-October, and available for picking.

Further information – Julia Currie – 01453 764376

Big Apple Harvestime 8th and 9th October 2022

Big Apple, the orchard association for the Much Marcle area, is holding its annual Harvestime weekend on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th October.

Nine venues are ready to welcome visitors to Much Marcle over the two days.

The venues have plenty to offer visitors. There will be opportunities to enjoy the local orchards, see, hear and smell cider and perry being made and taste and buy many different varieties of apples, local ciders, perries and apple juices.

Full details at https://www.bigapple.org.uk/harvestime2022/

Apple Day at Fishponds Community Orchard 9th October 2022

Fishponds Community Orchard are holding their Apple day on 9th October at Thingwall Park Allotments.

From midday until 5pm.

There will be juicing, cider, other produce plus woodturning, live music and story-telling.

Details from fishpondsorchard@gmail.com or their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/FishpondsOrchard/

 

Rockness Orchard/Stan’s Patch Apple Day, 9th October

Apple Day at our Rockness Orchard  near Nailsworth, will be on Sunday 9th October in the afternoon. There is a wonderful amount of fruit.

The orchard has now been scythed and cleared. Particular summer profusion on the banks of betony, field scabious, St

Johns wort and wild marjoram. We also have newts in our little pond.

 

Great excitement, as where the huge ash was felled, plums have shot up bearing wonderful delicious fruit. What a gift.

If anyone can identify from a photograph, we would be thrilled.

Early fruit (in profusion) has gone to the Long Table in Stroud to be redistributed and shared.

 

More information from Fiona Valentine fionav@phonecoop.coop

Tim Andrews on BBC Gardeners World, tomorrow, Friday 30th September 2022

An update on the previous news about this – the broadcast is due tomorrow, Friday 30th, at 20.00.

Details on the BBC website here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m001clnc

Tim Andrews, from Orchard Revival in North Nibley says:

Watch us talk about the work we do restoring traditional orchards in Gloucestershire on BBC Gardeners World. Over the last 50 years Gloucestershire has lost over 75% of these amazing habitats. Here at Orchard Revival we prune and re-plant these traditional orchards and more importantly share orchard skills so others can do it too.

The segment was filmed in the beautiful Pocketts Orchard, in Whitminster where we help lead orchard restoration for the Cotswold Canals Connected project and the Gloucestreshire Wildlife Trust as part of the Stroudwater canal restoration.

If you miss us on TV you’ll be able to hear us on BBC Gloucestershire with Kate Clark on Sunday 2nd October from 10am. Kate and I will be having a good chat about all things orchards, along with my work with the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust, Cotswold Canals Connected, the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, CPRE Gloucestershire and The Ernest Cook Trust.

 

Pilley Bridge Nature Reserve Apple Day, 16th October

Apple Day at Pilley Bridge Nature Reserve in Leckhampton, Cheltenham. Sunday 16th October 2022.

Timings at present are 2.30-4pm; they may alter slightly so visitors should check latest updates.

There will be children’s activities including apple games, scavenger hunt and creative art, our mini ‘railway rides’ and refreshments for sale.

We hope there will still be enough apples available after this summer’s weather challenges!

Details from Hazel Bolton, Group coordinator for PBNR hazelbolton@googlemail.com

Days Cottage Orchard & Rural Skills Centre Apple Afternoon 16th October

Dave Kaspar identifying apples. Small number of representative samples only please!

This year’s apple celebrations at Days Cottage will be on Sunday 16 October 2022, 1-4pm.

Apple Day Afternoon with Dave Kaspar and Helen Brent-Smith, www.dayscottage.co.uk Upton Lane, Brookthorpe, GL4 0UT.

Mulled apple juice, lovely apple and pear themed cakes, family event, music, heritage fruit to try and buy, rare trees for sale. Buy juice, cider and perry from unsprayed fruit. Now is a chance to chat to Dave and Helen about your orchard/fruit questions. But they do get busy!

Browse their mature and young orchards, bring a picnic. Walk around the Museum Orchard of rare Gloucestershire varieties. Maps available (please return). Signage will be out.

Bring a few representative samples for identification and a small amount (two carrier bags) for juicing at the farm.  Small charge for the latter.  Only a small number of representative samples please!

One way system in operation. Yurt and roundhouse. Forest garden to explore.

They also run a rolling programme of Pruning, Grafting and Bud-Grafting workshops here in  winter and summer. These will be advertised on the Days Cottage and GOT websites.

 

Dave Kaspar identifying apples at his and Helen’s Days Cottage Apple Afternoon in October.

Malvern Autumn Show 23-25th September

National Perry Pear Centre perry pear display at the Malvern Autumn Show by Jim Chapman from Hartpury Orchard Centre. Jim offers a unique perry pear identification service.

 

Jim Chapman will be at the Malvern Autumn Show as usual with his perry pear display.

 

Friday-Sunday 23-25 September 2022 at Three Counties Showground, Malvern.

 

Tim Andrews on BBC Gardeners World!

(Being broadcast mid or late September 2022)

Tim Andrews (Orchard Revival and GOT) filming with his children for BBC Gardeners World.

At the end of August Tim Andrews, Trustee of GOT and cider producer, was filmed for BBC Gardeners World at Pocketts Orchard, Whitminster. He was questioned about his work and passion in restoring traditional orchards near where in lives in the south of the county. Tim exchanges the fruit from these orchards for pruning, replanting and guards to keep these orchards alive.

He helps lead orchard restoration at Pocketts Orchard, Whitminster with the Cotswold Canals Connected project and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, and is about to start a new project with the Ernest Cook Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Gloucestershire in orchards at Halmore.

Contact Tim at tim@orchardrevivial.org.uk if you would like to get involved in any of the orchard restoration.

Look out for the interview on Gardeners’ World in mid-September.

Tim did flag up all the relevant organizations, including GOT, but of course only about 5 minutes is used from several hours of filming!

 

Hartpury Orchard Centre Open afternoon, 17th September 2022

Open afternoon at Hartpury Orchard Centre (National Perry Pear Centre)

Saturday 17 September 2022 with perry pear display and refreshments.

There will be more details nearer the time on this website or the Hartpury website. 

The tap bar should be open all summer from noon on Sundays. But check before setting off.

The orchards, wetlands with bird-hide/nature reserve are open all year round.

Bud-grafting Workshop at Days Cottage, Brookthorpe, Thursday 21 July 2022

posted in: Past Events | 0

Learn the art of propagating fruit trees by inserting a bud of your chosen variety into a rootstock. Take your tree home at the end of the session.

10am-1pm. Access to rare Gloucestershire varieties.

Cost £40.00 including refreshments.

To book (essential) please contact Dave/Helen directly at applejuice@dayscottage.co.uk or 01452 813602. More details at http://dayscottage.co.uk/courses

Dave Kaspar and Helen Brent-Smith at Days Cottage Orchard & Rural Skills Centre offer a rolling programme of pruning (winter), grafting (winter) and bud-grafting
(summer) courses as well as a Blossom Day and Apple Day. Check out their website regularly www.dayscottage.co.uk

Bud-Grafting Workshops with Tim Andrews, 12th July and 13th August

Learn how to propagate apple and pear fruit trees by budding, in a practical workshop.

These skills are useful to anyone who wishes to propagate fruit and ornamental trees in their garden or allotment. We discuss the technical theory behind budding to propagate onto a variety of rootstocks and also go through the practical elements step by step, led by GOT’s committee member and Orchard Revival’s Tim Andrews.

Tuesday 12 July 2022 evening – North Nibley chapel

Saturday 13 August 2022 morning – with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust at Fromebridge at Pocketts Orchard.

These are run by Tim Andrews in association with Farming in Protected Landscapes/Orchard Revival/GOT.

For these workshops, please book via Tim: tim@orchardrevival.co.uk

Bud-Grafting Workshop at Longney, 9th July 2022

Learn how to propagate apple and pear fruit trees by budding, in a practical workshop.

These skills are useful to anyone who wishes to propagate fruit and ornamental trees in their garden or allotment. We discuss the technical theory behind budding to propagate onto a variety of rootstocks and also go through the practical elements step by step.10am-1pm at the barn, led by GOT’s committee member and Orchard Revival’s Tim Andrews.

Participants will be able to take home their own grafted tree.

Cost £30 (funds will help support Longney Orchard and the charity of GOT).

To book (essential), please contact Ann Smith: ann@smithcovell.co.uk who will advise on payment methods (please pay in advance), directions/parking etc.

You can also pay via this PayPal button:


If you pay by PayPal please also email Ann with your details.

For GOT members only. To join, please click here.

A Garden (with Orchards) in Midsummer, 25th June 2022

posted in: Past Events | 0

An open garden day at Prestberries Cottage, Blackwell’s End, Hartpury,

A rare opportunity to see these orchards near Hartpury Orchard Centre.

Saturday 25th June

2.30pm – 5.30pm Admission £3. In aid of Hartpury Church Bells

  • Plant stall
  • Cakes
  • Produce
  • Garden Bric-a-Brac
  • Teas

A large 3 acre informal country garden to explore with wild areas, orchards, woodland, and some fun architecture!

If looking for ‘Garden immaculate’ look elsewhere ! ! Plenty of stinging nettles, sorry deliberate wildlife areas.

Strong shoes recommended – rabbit scrapes! Sorry – no dogs.

Prestberries Cottage, Blackwell’s End, Hartpury, GL19 3DB

Wolds End Orchard Town Picnic, 3rd July 2022

posted in: orchard, Past Events, picnic | 0

The Campden Society and Friends of Wolds End Orchard are holding a Town Picnic in Wolds Ends Orchard on 3rd July from 12.30pm – 3.30pm

Enjoy music in the orchard on a summer’s afternoon.

Bring your own picnic and something to sit on.

Free event – all welcome!

Please wear stout shoes as the site is uneven. No dogs please.

Wolds End Orchard is at the corner of Austin Road and Back Ends, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire, GL55 6AB.

There is no parking on site, however parking can be found in Campden High School car park, on the High Street, and in Back Ends.

GOT AGM on Saturday 14 May 2022

All members are welcome to join us for our AGM on Saturday 14 May 2022 at Brockworth Community Hall, Court Road, Brockworth GL3 4ET   https://brockworth-pc.gov.uk/

10.30am-11.30am Business and AOB/Question Time to be followed by a walk to/around GOT’s new Henley Bank Orchard.

This will be the first AGM since before the pandemic and will be very informal this year.

We hope to provide coffee but there will probably be no books for sale this time (books for sale on the GOT website bookshop all year round).

No charge for the AGM. Parking is tricky. Spaces are very limited at the community hall itself (and there is a group using our main hall afterwards so please don’t leave cars there after the meeting). The parking outside the local shops is time restricted and patrolled by traffic wardens, so if there is no space at the Community Hall please park a little further up the street.

To visit the orchard at Henley Bank afterwards it is best to move your car rather than walk (it’s about a mile). There is a new gravelled car park on Mill Lane opposite Henley Bank High School where we can park most cars. From there it’s a shortish walk to the orchard along Mill Lane and left up the A46, pavement most of the way, but rough verge for some of the A46 part (unless we cross the road, but we will need to cross back again). Committee members will help guide people to the car park and orchard. There is room for just one car at the orchard gate – we can arrange lifts direct to there from Mill Lane if needed.

Please note that as GOT has only just acquired the orchard it is very overgrown and it is the nesting season until September. The ground is uneven and damp in places. But it is a lovely place and we would be delighted to see you and have a chat about our plans.

GOT acquires Henley Bank Orchard

We are delighted to announce that we have now completed the acquisition of Henley Bank Orchard, at Brockworth.  It has been a long process transferring the ownership from the developers, but is now finalised!

The orchard, adjoining the new developments along Mill Lane Brockworth, is to be managed as a community orchard rather than public open space, and we will be working up plans for management and access soon.

The 2.5 acres (1 hectare) site, with many mature perry pears, is very overgrown at present so we are not encouraging visitors at all yet, but will be taking members there after our AGM in Brockworth on 14th May.

The pictures below were taken in March 2021.

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The sheep return to Longney

posted in: blossom, grazing, Longney, orchard | 0

Stuart Smith writes to say: that the sheep have returned to the orchard after spending winter at home on the farm. The lambs are a few weeks old, so not at the leaping for joy stage, but seemed to be enjoying the grass and the sun on their backs. Studies have shown that sheep recognise human faces, and this one seems to know our volunteer from last year!

If you leave the track in Long Tyning, you can walk beneath a canopy of apple blossom. The most common varieties here are Bramley’s Seedling and Newton Wonder – both cookers.

Joan Morgan says that when apple trees began to be included in formal gardens by the Victorians, and the blossom came to be valued as much as the fruit, “some of the grandest spring displays were to be found on the prolific cookers”.

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Plum Tree Pruning Workshops at Longney Orchard on 9th, 17th and 30th May 2022

Martin Hayes is leading a series of informal pruning workshops at GOT’s lovely Longney Orchard (south of Gloucester by the River Severn).
These are for GOT members only. Cost is £10 per head.

Please book one session (booking essential) through Ann Smith ann@smithcovell.co.uk who can advise on payment methods.

(all fully booked now)

If you pay by PayPal please also email Ann with details of which session you’re booking.

Dates are

  • Monday 9 May 2022 at 12-3.30pm (large trees)
  • Tuesday 17 May 2022 at 9.30-1pm (young trees)
  • Monday 30 May 2022 at 12-3.30pm (young trees)

Once booked, Ann will send you further details including directions. Please note there is no vehicular access to the orchards from the road.

Martin will go through Health and Safety and we would need everyone to sign in with an emergency contact phone number please. Bring own tools, gloves, boots and refreshments.

Martin is very knowledgeable and there’s always something to learn and share. Stone fruit is only pruned between May and September to reduce the chance of silver leaf disease.

 

We look forward to seeing you! If you are not a member and would like to attend, please join GOT at https://glosorchards.org/home/join-us-got-membership/

If you are a community orchard group you get a year’s free membership. Please enquire via Ann.

Orchard Blossom Day – a new annual celebration

Our friends at the UK Orchard Network have recently announced that they have a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help launch a new annual celebration – Orchard Blossom Day.

This will be:

An annual celebration of fruit trees, flowers and food. See buzzing pollinators, eat and drink tasty orchard products, and enjoy the fresh spring air

Few British sights are as uplifting or evocative as fruit tree boughs heavy with spring blossom, and nowhere is this more in evidence than in orchards. Partly man-made and partly natural, orchards are a meeting point of both worlds.

The Orchard Network are launching a new annual celebration called Orchard Blossom Day. Sites across the country will host events with activities like tours, produce fairs, picnics and practical crafts.

The ‘day’ is set as the last Friday in April, this year the 29th, but events can be throughout the blossom season. There are events taking place across Europe centred on the same date.

UK Orchard Network are inviting orchard groups and enthusiasts people to arrange orchard blossom events orchards – which can be promoted as part of the new venture

Blossom events will be publicised on social media channels, so do get in touch with Orchard Network and let them know what you’re doing.

@UK_Orch_Network

#OrchardBlossomDay

#OrchardsEverywhere

#BlossomWatch

Instagram: UK_Orchard_Network

More information is available at https://ptes.org/campaigns/traditional-orchard-project/orchard-network/orchard-blossom-day/

Blossom Afternoon at Days Cottage, Sunday 24th April 2022

Blossom Afternoon at Days Cottage Orchard & Rural Skills Centre, Sunday 24th April 2022 1.00pm-4.00pm

Brookthorpe near Gloucester dayscottage.co.uk

Come and enjoy our orchards in blossom – picnic under the trees and immerse yourself in the fragrance of apple blossom. Help us celebrate springtime in our traditional orchards and their biodiversity.

Apple juice, cider, perry, orchard honey and trees for sale. Hot spiced apple juice and home made cakes. Orchard information and live music.

Limited parking in field.

Dave Kaspar and Helen Brent-Smith are very knowledgeable about orchards, so full of advice!

Growing and Training Fruit in Small Spaces course, Thursday 18 August 2022

At Sue Gibson School of Gardening, May Cottage, Slimbridge.

Growing and Training Fruit in Small Spaces course on Thursday 18 August 2022.

Cost £75 including lunch (10% discount to GOT members).

Sue Gibson School of Gardening. https://www.iteachgardening.co.uk/

For details/to book email: info@iteachgardening.co.uk

The mason bee season opens at Longney!

The mason bees are back at Longney.

Stuart Smith writes that the advice from the BeeGuardian project was to put the red mason bee cocoons in their release boxes as soon as they arrive.
They came on 31st March and were in place the same afternoon!

 

On the right-hand side of the tree guard is a nest tube holder, already stocked with a dozen cardboard nest tubes.

Blossom at Longney

Stuart Smith spotted this beautiful blossom in Bollow Orchard at Longney while preparing for the arrival of the red mason bee cocoons at the end of March.

 

This particular tree is a unique perry pear, meaning that its DNA fingerprint does not match any other perry pear in the National Collection at Hartpury.

 

Jim Chapman says this suggests that just the seedling rootstock remains and the grafted perry variety has died – but at least it makes a lovely show!

 

 

2022 DNA fingerprinting scheme for apples, pears and cherries launched

The DNA Fingerprinting Scheme for apples, pears and cherries in 2022 (the 7th year of the scheme) has been launched, and is open to anyone who wants their fruit tree to be fingerprinted.

The scheme is run with NIAB-EMR at East Malling in Kent providing DNA analysis through their laboratory and submissions co-ordinated by Peter Laws of fruitID.com.

The charge will be £27.60 plus VAT per sample.

if you have an apple, pear or cherry tree that you would like to be fingerprinted, and identified if it matches the fingerprint of a known cultivar, you will first need to complete a sample bag request form and return it to Peter Laws as soon as you can. Bags will be sent out in May and June.  No money is required at this stage.

Samples need to be submitted from mid-May to the end of June.  There are details of scheme and the sample bag request form on the help page of fruitID.com, https://www.fruitid.com/index.html#help

Or you can access the relevant documents directly with the links below:

Grafting Workshop, 14th March at 6.30pm, Hazleton Village Hall

Grafting Workshop, 14th March 2022 6.30pm – 9pm at Hazleton Village Hall, GL54 4DX

£20 per person

Learn to graft fruit trees in this practical , hands-on session.

Lead by experts from Gloucestershire Orchard Trust, participants will learn the theory, before putting it in to practice on their very
own tree, that can be taken home to the garden.

All tools and tree provided.

For further information contact Martin Hayes via martin@glosorchards.org or on 07900985679

Supported by Farming in Protected Landscapes funding.

News and events from Hartpury Orchard Centre

posted in: Past Events | 0

Hartpury Orchard Centre has recently launched a new Facebook Group called Orchard Watch which invites all visitors to record the flora and fauna seen on their visit. If you join this group you will see regular updates and invitations to events such as Bioblitzes, Moth Nights, Bird Mornings and other family friendly occasions.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/939594460324806

Forthcoming events at the Centre include:

  • Sunday 24 April 2022 Blossom Day event – this will be a low key affair – just tap bar open from noon, but you can still walk around the orchard and down to the wetland/bird hide. https://www.nationalperrypearcentre.org.uk/
  • Sunday 1 May 2022 Dawn Chorus Walk 5.00 am followed by Breakfast at Orchard Centre
  • Sunday 22 May 2022 Rogation Church Service in orchard (note: the Tap-Bar will also be open)
  • Saturday/Sunday 11/12 June 2022 Moth night – all to be revealed over breakfast at Orchard Centre on the Sunday morning (weather dependent)

Plus there are Cider & Perry Courses with Peter Mitchell at the Centre.

https://www.cider-academy.co.uk/uk-courses/

Wolds End Orchard Blossom Weekend, 30th April-2nd May, Chipping Campden

Wolds End Orchard Blossom Weekend is not far away!  Join the Wolds End orchard volunteers over the spring bank holiday weekend from Saturday 30 April to Monday 2 May to mark the start of this year’s growing season.

Come and enjoy what we hope will be a breath-taking pink and white mosaic across our 94 fruit trees, sitting within nearly three acres of ridge and furrow landscape on the edge of historic Chipping Campden.

In Japan, spring blossom is celebrated with the traditional custom of Hanami, which means ‘flower viewing’ and is an opportunity to take in the beauty of flowers. It’s a practice of restoration, an invitation to connect with plants and the soil; time to give yourself space to breathe, go slowly, walk mindfully and just be in the moment.

From late March to mid May the blossoms of apple, pear, plum, walnut and quince burst onto the scene: expect to enjoy everything from gossamer white through soft pinks and onto deep vermillion.

It’s not just about the fruit trees. We also have a ‘Shadow Orchard’ in the form of boundary hedges where you’ll also spot a variety of blossom including hawthorn, blackthorn, elder and wild damson as well as pussy willow catkins and maybe even some early wild rose.

The National Trust has a great Blossom Activity Pack on its website as part of it’s #BlossomWeekend activities.

The gate will open from 10.30am-4pm each day. Everyone is welcome – just pop in and have a wander around.

Note: the orchard is very uneven underfoot so ensure you wear appropriate footwear. Also, no dogs please as the orchard is a nature reserve as well as a working orchard.

Address:  entrance on corner of Aston Road and Back Ends, GL55 6AB. Parking: in the High Street, Campden School Car Park or public parking bays on Back Ends – no parking on site. 

A busy winter for Tim

Tim Andrews is always busy.  A dad of two, teacher, GOT committee member and owner of Orchard Revival Cider, it is not hard to fill every spare minute. Below is his summary of orchard activities so far this winter!

Pocketts Orchard, WhitminsterWe have continued to work with Cotswold Canals Connected to look after and restore the traditional orchard at Whitminster next to the canal. A particular highlight was the talk given by Jonathan Briggs, a previous GOT chair, about mistletoe. Nearly all the old trees have their yearly prune and we have cleared quite a bit of excess brambles. We await the results of the DNA testing that took place in the autumn and we hope to do some more grafting at the start of March. There is a lot planned in the summer such as fencing and building a field shelter which should allow us to control the grazing better. Work parties are held on the 2nd Saturday of every month. Please contact Peter Savage peter.savage@gloucestershirewildlifetrust.co.uk if you’d like to join us.

Tree plantingWe managed to squeeze in some more tree planting on our own land this winter. Another 24 takes us to 358 trees and 131 varieties all on full standard root stocks. Being well watered in the first year of planting we have only lost 1 tree! However, there was little growth due to the dry summer we had last year and also because I hadn’t mulched enough. There is never enough time to do it all! We have also led the creation of a new community orchard at the Ionian, a wood fired pizza restaurant on the A38 near Berkeley. We donated the trees, led the planting session and the Ionian is providing the land and paying for the guards. The pizza, cake and coffee provided certainly energised the volunteers.

PruningOnly a couple of orchards beyond Pocketts orchard managed to get pruned this year. These were a lovely old cider orchard in Halmore and a small orchard in North Nibley. I would have liked to have done more, but my teaching job gets in the way!

Bird boxesThe best bit about being a teacher is the children. This year a group of students in my year group were really keen to do something to improve the environment at my school Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School. So we held a raffle and have raised enough money to buy the materials for 4 blue tit nesting boxes, 1 kestrel box, 14 swift boxes and a sound system to attract the swifts. The students’ next job is constructing the boxes and erecting them on the school site. I am also working with a bird expert in our village, Peter Kirmond. We are hoping to turn North Nibley into a swift hub by erecting lots of swift nesting boxes. For each bottle or pint of our Save Our Swift cider we donate 20p towards the cause.

GraftingWe are also running a number of grafting workshops thanks to a Farming in Protected Landscapes grant. Martin Hayes and David Lindgren, our joint GOT chairs, will be on hand to help to. We’ll be at North Nibley on 1st March, Avening on 8th March and Hazleton on the 14th March. Email Martin if you are interested in attending martin@glosorchards.org.

Tim Andrews  https://orchardrevival.co.uk/

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Grafting courses at Days Cottage, March 6th and 17th 2022

Days Cottage are running two grafting courses in March:

– Sunday 6th March 10.00am – 1.00pm
– Thursday 17th March 10.00am – 1.00pm

Learn the skill of propagating fruit trees by inserting a scion of your chosen variety into a rootstock.

Take your tree home at the end of the session.

Booking essential.

Cost £40.00

To book please contact applejuice@dayscottage.co.uk or 01452 813602

More info at http://dayscottage.co.uk/courses

Grafting Workshop at Avening, 9th March 2022

Grafting Workshop at Avening Village Hall, High Street, GL6 9BE on 9th March 2022 6pm – 9pm

Cost: £20 per person

Learn to graft fruit trees in this practical, hands-on session.

Lead by experts from Gloucestershire Orchard Trust, participants will learn the theory, before putting it in to practice on their very own tree, that can be taken home to the garden.

All tools and tree provided.

 

For further information contact Martin Hayes via martin@glosorchards.org or on 07900985679

Supported by Farming in Protected Landscapes funding.

Perry Pear Planting at Boyce Court, Dymock

Our committee co-chair David Lindgren and incoming treasurer Andy Ellis were out last month planting some replacement perry pears at Boyce Court, near Dymock.

There’s a long-established avenue of pear trees there, on the drive leading to the house.  These trees, several hundred years old, are well-known (in the perry pear world) as they feature in the 1963 book Perry Pears by L C Luckwill and A Pollard.

The illustration in the book shows a healthy avenue of trees but now, 60 or so years later, many have gone and most of the survivors are decaying or dead.  Some are still productive though, and David has used the fruit for a limited edition Perry called “The Avenue”.

David and Andy’s efforts, planting some Thorn perry pears (one of the old varieties originally planted in the avenue), will help reverse the decline and keep the tradition of the avenue going.

For more pictures see below and for information on the site and varieties do visit David’s blog about it at https://www.bushelpeck.co.uk/news-and-natter/2022/1/29/z42onimf0bkf10brye6296cphdoekv 

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Grafting Workshop at North Nibley, 1st March 2022

Come along to a Grafting Workshop at North Nibley, 6.30pm to 9pm on 1st March 2022 at North Nibley Chapel, Barrs Lane GL11 6DT.

Cost £20 per person.

Learn to graft fruit trees in this practical hands-on session led by experts from the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust.

Participants will learn the theory before putting it into practice on their very own tree, that can be taken home to plant in the garden.

All tools and trees provided.

For further information contact Martin Hayes via martin@glosorchards.org or on 07900985679

Supported by Farming in Protected Landscapes funding.

Tree Planting at the Ionian Farmshop, Berkeley 19th Feb 2022

The Ionian Farmshop and Kitchen on the A38 near Berkeley have a tree planting event on 19th February to design and make your community orchard.  With our own Tim Andrews to show them how.

They say:

“Give back and volunteer at The Ionian as we embark on our ambition to design and make your community orchard! Aiming to provide vital green space where you can interact with nature have space to learn skills such as planting, pruning and grafting. We can all do our bit in the battle against climate change, help wildlife and our own well being!
We’ll be collaborating with the amazing Tim Andrews who will share his knowledge with us on reviving traditional orchards. We need as many volunteers as possible for this project, any help will very much appreciated. To get involved, please email theionian.a38@gmail.com.  We are so proud to attract and make people from all walks of life and every background feel welcome at The Ionian, we encourage you to roll up your sleeves, lets work together on creating a sustainable future! ”

 

Traditional Orchard for sale near Hereford

This is, as we understand it, an historic orchard planted in the 1930s for Bulmers.

It is a traditional mixed variety orchard, and a perfect opportunity for an orchard enthusiast/group to restore and conserve

Selling Agent is Sunderlands. Their opening description is below:

Traditional orchard next to Adams Hill, Breinton, Hereford, HR4 7PB.

Summary of features:

– Approx. 2.53 acres (1.024 ha)
– Good roadside access
– Traditional cider orchard
– For sale by Informal Tender

Offers to be received by 17 February 2022

Fruit tree pruning at Days Cottage: 6th and 10th February 2022

Days Cottage are running two pruning courses in February:

– Sunday 6th February 10.00am – 1.00pm
– Thursday 10th February 10.00am – 1.00pm

Booking essential.

Learn to prune fruit trees of all ages. Hands-on training that demystifies those gardening book diagrams!

Create shapely, productive trees.

Cost £35.00

To book please contact applejuice@dayscottage.co.uk or 01452 813602

More info at http://dayscottage.co.uk/courses

Murmurations at Hartpury Orchard Centre

 

There have been some spectacular Starling murmurations at Hartpury Orchard Centre in the last week or so.

 

These take place over the wetlands adjoining the orchards before the starlings came down to roost in the reeds

 

This is a very satisfying habitat success story – 15 years ago the area was an arable field with no ponds.

 

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Longney Pruning Workshops, February and March 2022

Update:  Sorry, 14th March workshop is now fully booked and 7th March workshop has been cancelled.

Martin Hayes is leading a series of informal pruning workshops at GOT’s lovely Longney Orchard (south of Gloucester by the River Severn).

These are for GOT members only.   Cost will be £10 per head.

Please book one session (booking essential) through Ann Smith ann@smithcovell.co.uk who can advise on payment methods.  You can also pay via this PayPal button:


If you pay by PayPal please also email Ann with details of which session you’re booking.

Dates: Mondays 14 February, 7 March, 14 March.  Noon-3pm

Martin will go through Health and Safety and we would need everyone to sign in with an emergency contact phone number please. Bring own tools, gloves and boots. Martin is very knowledgeable and there’s always something to learn and share. Stone fruit will not be pruned – only May to September on dry days for plums and cherries to reduce the chance of silver leaf disease.

We look forward to seeing you! If you are not a member and would like to attend, please join GOT at https://glosorchards.org/home/join-us-got-membership/

If you are a community orchard group you get a year’s free membership. Please enquire via Ann.

 

 

New Traditional Orchard at Wallsworth Hall- fruitful collaboration in action!

Wallsworth Hall, an imposing C18 house, just north of Gloucester at Twigworth, is home to one of the UK’s most important national charities promoting conservation through the medium of art – in all its many forms. Established in 1988, Nature in Art (N in A) is now a unique centre, with an expanding membership and visitor base.  It is dedicated, among other aims, to show how the visual and aesthetic qualities of art can help support ecology and encourage participation in realising common objectives.

The large garden area surrounding Wallsworth Hall provides space for many sculptures and a site for a busy Education Centre with outreach work with schools, art groups and visiting artists in residence. The garden is also very popular with visitors, with circular walks and picnic places, and it has an excellent range of wildlife. However, the far end of the garden had been left largely untouched and had become overgrown and inaccessible.  N in A’s Trustees decided to restore this area – of around a 1/4 acre – by establishing a small orchard of local varieties of apples to supplement some older fruit trees around the partially walled boundary.

Following enquiries from N in A’s staff, contact with the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust (GOT) was made which led to discussions on how plans for the new orchard could be made and put in train. GOT (and N in A) member Keith Turner agreed to collaborate with N in A Director Simon Trapnell and the Education Officer Catherine Bunn in drawing up practical plans. These included using N in A volunteers first, to clear, by hand, the area of its jungle of briars, nettles and invasive elder; and then to prepare the new area for planting up to 15 fruit trees, mainly apples. The emphasis would be on heritage varieties – a mixture of culinary, cider and dessert types, which would be sourced from GOT member Rob Watkins’ Lodge Farm Trees nursery near Berkeley.  A mix of native grass and wildflower seed will be broadcast under the trees to augment the existing flora and so form a natural sward under the trees for wildlife conservation, especially habitat for bees, butterflies and moths.

Sufficient ground was ready by autumn 2019 for the first trees to be planted, but continued wet conditions delayed planting until early 2020. These trees soon established and made good growth in 2020. Meanwhile, the remainder of the area was prepared for clearing and planting which took place the following winter.  Consisting of grafts on M25, MM106 and MM111 rootstocks, all were local Gloucestershire or regional Three Counties varieties/cultivars. Examples include Ashmeads Kernel, Longney Russet, Arlingham Schoolboy, Yellow Willy etc.  One perry pear has also been included in the mix for a special spot in the new orchard.

The plantings were completed in early 2021 with a total of 16 trees well established, but leaving a legacy of further work by N in A volunteers to maintain the new orchard over the next few years. There was, very likely, an earlier orchard at Wallsworth Hall which would have provided fruit for the house and its residents. So it’s very satisfying that the new trees will restore these links and again be part of the future history of this lovely house.

Keith Turner  6/1/22

More information on Nature in Art: Located at Twigworth off the A38, near Gloucester GL2 9PA.  https://natureinart.org.uk/

Government Cider Tax Consultation – a risk to Traditional Orchards

This has been a hot topic in the cider and perry community since the budget and has caused understandable anxiety for smaller scale producers.

The issue is whether there will be changes to the existing 70hL (7000l) cider exemption from taxation.  This tax relief has helped conserve orchards, encourage small cider and perry makers (and has saved HMRC a great deal of administration!).

Any changes to that exemption could make small scale production uneconomic – which would have knock-on effects for traditional orchards.

Several GOT committee members who make cider and perry have lobbied their MPs to urge them to keep the system unchanged (ie tax low and paperwork simple).

The Government has issued a consultation paper – with responses required this month (January 2022).

GOT intends lobbying on behalf of cider producers and for the well-being of traditional orchards.

If you are able to write to your MP or complete the consultation, please let us know.

Do note that the consultation, as it stands, advocates no change to the current cut-off and a streamlining of the ‘cliff-edge’ if/when small producers pass the cut-off – see wording from paragraph 4.37 in the consultation (reproduced below).  This is encouraging but isn’t definite, and the proposals are complex, so this shouldn’t put people off writing in to support the status quo and express their views on changes. We need to maximise support for this.

4.37 The Government intends this to build on and not replace the existing exemption for small cidermakers, as the transition at 70hL has been identified as an impediment to growth. Small cidermakers below this level will continue to be exempt from the requirement to register and therefore pay no excise duty. However, once cidermakers exceed this level, the Government proposes to give them a full rebate of the excise duty that would have otherwise been payable, to remove the existing distortionary ‘cliff-edge’. This rebate will only be available to cidermakers who produce less than the maximum threshold for the small producer relief as a whole.

The consultation deadline is 30 January 2022.  Do let us know if you need any advice on what it all means and what should be said!

The consultation webpage, with details of how to respond, is at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/the-new-alcohol-duty-system-consultation

Direct link to the consultation document is https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1028702/20211026_Alcohol_Duty_Review_Consultation_and_CFE_response.pdf

Thank you!

Hartpury OC Wassail CANCELLED

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Sorry, this event has been cancelled due to Covid related issues.

The annual Wassail at the National Perry Pear Centre/Hartpury Orchard Centre.

Friday 21 January 2022, from 7pm depending on what is permitted.

We are advising folks to check our website on the day, in case it is called off.

Obviously we don’t now know if we will be serving food, but will if we can.

More information will be posted at https://www.hartpuryheritage.org.uk/events/

Pruning workshop December 2021

Eight GOT members attended Martin Hayes’ pruning workshop at GOT’s Longney orchard on Thursday 16th December 2021.

There was time to discuss members’ individual orchard queries and to learn about a range of issues including planting, rootstocks and guarding trees.

Trust Juice and cider was available to purchase.

The resident pheasant kept an eye on the proceedings from a safe distance from Martin’s dog!

Photos kindly taken by Jacquie Sarsby.

 

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Orchard Learning Programme blooms again in 2022 – Horfield Organic Community Orchard

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This hands-on and holistic 9 month course is designed to deepen the knowledge and sharpen the skills of those involved in the close care of fruit trees and orchards.

Participants are guided through a growing season and partnered up with a couple of ‘Tree Buddies’ from March to October. The blend of group learning days and one-to-one sessions is another special feature.

All sessions take place in the richly diverse out door learning environment of Horfield Organic Community Orchard in Bristol. Some previous fruit growing experience is needed.

The Orchard Learning Programme is ideal for those involved with community orchards, food growing projects or enterprises with a large number of fruit trees, professional gardeners, and keen amateur gardeners.

Deadline for applications is Friday 28 January 2022.

More information, course outline, fees, and dates on the HOCO website.

Contact: hocopips@gmail.com or phone 0117 373 1587

Martin visits Rockness Orchard

Martin Hayes, our advice-giving orchardist, reports on a recent visit to Rockness Orchard, a long-established community orchard GOT has recently become involved with:

A great day at Rockness Community Orchard ‘Stan’s Patch’.

The Gloucestershire Orchard Trust recently took the Orchard under its wings and a great partnership is ahead!

Fabulous cakes and biscuits with tea.

An orchardist’s life is tough!

And some appreciative feedback:

Defra announcement about the new Farming Investment Fund

An interesting piece of kit apparently available via the fund!  It’s a Fruit Ripeness Spectrometer – “Handheld device for use in orchards to determine produce quality and harvest timing. Uses NIR (Near Infra-Red) to determine and measure DM (Dry Matter), total soluble solids, titratable acidity, and colour to determine ripeness”  Probably not designed for our mixed variety traditional orchards!

Defra has recently launched the new Farming Investment Fund.

Much of it looks beyond the scope of your average orchard grower, but there are some things like electric fencing that might be useful.

 

This is the wording from their announcement:

We are very pleased to let you know that Defra has launched today, Tuesday 16th November, the new Farming Investment Fund which will offer funding for equipment, technology, and infrastructure that improves farm productivity and benefits the environment.

This fund will provide grants to farmers, foresters and growers (including contractors to these sectors) helping them to focus on more efficient production methods that will reduce resource costs, improve yields, and give them a better return. It will also support farmers who want to process and add value to their existing products, create new products, or sell their produce directly to consumers. 

The Farming Investment Fund offers funding for both smaller investments - The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund and for larger investments – The Farming Transformation Fund. Today, we are opening applications for the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund and for grants focused on the Water Management theme of the Farming Transformation Fund, which is dedicated to arable and horticultural businesses growing, or intending to grow, irrigated food crops, ornamentals or forestry nurseries.  Additional grants and themes will be made available as part of this fund in the future.

Please read our blog post and our press release to find more information about the available grants. For more background information we have a key messages document (available here). 

The Funds will open to applicants on Tuesday 16 November. The application deadline for the Farming, Equipment and Technology Fund will be 12:00 noon on 7th January 2022. The online checker for the Farming Transformation Fund will run until 12th January 2022, with the full application deadline on the 30th June 2022. 

Longney Apple Pruning and Orchard Maintenance Workshop 16th December 2021

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Martin Hayes is leading workshops at GOT’s lovely Longney Orchard (south of Gloucester by the River Severn) 10am-3pm or whatever time you can spare. Pandemic permitting.

No charge for GOT members. More details will be sent later to those who are interested. The morning session will either be pruning medium sized trees (no ladders) or helping to maintain the trees in other ways.

Then switch over in the afternoon.

Martin will go through Health and Safety and we would need everyone to sign in with an emergency contact phone number please. Bring own tools, gloves and boots. Thank you! Martin is very knowledgeable and there’s always something to learn and share. Stone fruit will not be pruned – only May to September on dry days for plums and cherries to reduce the chance of silver leaf disease.

Please book through Ann Smith ann@smithcovell.co.uk

Places will be limited. We look forward to seeing you!

There is another workshop on 11th January next year.

Apple Grafting Workshop 19th February 2022

At Winterbourne Medieval Barn, Bristol, BS36 1SE

Booking essential – https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/bristol/winterbourne-medieval-barn/apple-grafting-workshop/e-kvdqjb

Come and learn how to graft apple trees on this course under the tuition of Ben Raskin, a previous commercial fruit grower and an enthusiastic, effective and very knowledgeable teacher, now Head of Horticulture at The Soil Association.

Grafting is the process of propagating new trees. You take the scion wood which is a twig from a variety of apple tree that you like, and then fuse it to the rootstock. The rootstock is the branch or stem of another tree which has been selected for size, or tolerance of certain soil conditions. This way you can clone fruit varieties, guaranteeing that the fruit on the tree is as tasty as you want it to be!

You will learn why we graft, how to graft and put these skills into practice by forming at least three grafts that you can take away at the end of the day.

Everybody who has provided feed back from previous course has rated the course as excellent. Here are some quotes from previous attendees:
‘Learning a new skill that I feel confident I can use independently and that I came away with 4 trees that I have made’
‘Excellent information. Good guidance. Friendly and fun.’
‘Hands on, great support and encouragement throughout, taking part in an ancient practice.’
‘Friendly, no previous knowledge/experience required. Time for everyone, un-rushed and relaxed.’

We will provide some common varieties for grafting. If you have a favourite that you wish to propagate, then bring your own wood to graft. If there is a particular variety that you wish to graft but do not have the wood, please let us know and we will attempt to procure some wood for you. The only equipment you will need to bring is a very sharp knife (e.g. a Stanley Knife) and some secateurs.

Cost £45, tea coffee and biscuits will be provided, please bring your own lunch.

If you have any questions about this workshop, please contact Robert on 0117 957 4921.

Booking essential – https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/bristol/winterbourne-medieval-barn/apple-grafting-workshop/e-kvdqjb

Happy Apple Day!

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Happy Apple Day!

National Apple Day, October 21st, was launched in 1990 by Common Ground. Their aspiration was to create a calendar custom, an autumn holiday. From the start, Apple Day was intended to be both a celebration and a demonstration of the variety we are in danger of losing, not simply in apples, but in the richness and diversity of landscape, ecology and culture too. It has also played a part in raising awareness in the provenance and traceability of food.

The concept has become incredibly successful over the 30 years since – with events taking place all over the country organised by local orchard and apple groups, across a range of dates throughout October.

Here in Gloucestershire there are many Apple Day themed events, some in the last few weeks, some in the next few weeks.  Have a look at the events section of our website to find an events near you.

https://www.commonground.org.uk/apple-day/

Leonard Stanley Community Orchard Apple Day 17th October 2021

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12 to 5pm, in the churchyard of St Swithuns, Leonard Stanley.  Free entry.
If you haven’t experienced an apple day before, its great fun for all ages and you don’t need to bring your own apples, but you can press them if you bring them.
We will have collected some apples from local orchards for people to have a go.
Please bring receptacles to take home your juice.
If you have suitable plastic containers (milk or soda bottles you will be able to freeze it too).
One trug full of apples produces 9-14 litres of juice.

Folk of Gloucester Apple Day 23rd October 2021

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10 am – 4 pm.

The Folk of Gloucester’s Annual Celebration of Apples and Cider making in Gloucestershire with over 30 apples found exclusively in Gloucestershire.

There will be a range of ciders to try and buy from Severn Cider. The cider mill will be open today.

Lassington Oak will be giving an insight in to Morris Dancing with Folk music playing throughout the building.

Orchard talk by Martin Hayes of Gloucestershire Orchard Trust.

The café will be open and there will be children’s activities throughout the day.

Free entry to all.  Details at https://www.gloucestercivictrust.org/the-folk/

Cotswold Canals Apple Appreciation Day, 21st October 2021

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Please join Cotswold Canals Trust to raise a jar or two for Gloucestershire’s Canalside Orchard

And to raise funds for the planting of 4km of sustainable hedgerows along the canal corridor. 🍺🌱

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Gloucestershire and Berkeley Vale CPRE have joined forces with Cotswold Canals Connected to sponsor 1km of hedgerow. This event will support the ongoing fundraising for the project.
What to expect from the event 👇
🍎 Cider tasting along with locally produced cheese. Kindly supported by Tim Andrews and Orchard Revival and Severn Cider
🍎 Talk to experts and hear first hand about the great work in orchard revival in Gloucestershire
🍎 Sponsor your very own Family Tree and be part of the regeneration of ancient Gloucestershire varieties
🍎 Meet local producers and be inspired by this county we call home.
Tickets cost £10pp and all funds raised will go towards the Cotswold Canals Connected Phase 1B biodiversity and Natural Environment project. 🌍

Winterbourne Medieval Barn Orchard Harvest Day, 10th October 2021

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Winterbourne Barn’s annual Orchard Harvest Day is back!  11am – 4pm on 10th October.

Visit the amazing Winterbourne Medieval Barn for a fun day out for all the family.

Celebrate the Great British Orchard with apple displays, and experts on hand to identify apple varieties. Enjoy entertainment from Terry Moules ferret-racing, and live music from Bygonz – music from a bygone age, and the Frampton Shantymen (among others). We’ll have a variety of artisan crafts traders and stalls from local groups. Plus plenty of kids activities throughout the day!

We’ll be serving locally sourced high quality food and drink all day.

A great day out with something for all ages!

Pre book tickets now! £5 adults, £1 children

Full details are at http://www.winterbournebarn.org.uk/event/orchard-harvest-day/

Drawing in the Orchard, 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th September

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Learn to draw in the beautiful, open air setting of Days Cottage Orchard, with experienced artist Liz Lancashire.

Four creative, relaxed sessions suitable for absolute beginners, with a chance to try new materials and different approaches to drawing.

Tuesdays 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th September, 2 – 4pm, £50.

Shelter provided in wet weather.

Call Liz on 07407 115043 to book your place, or contact liz@lancashirepillow.co.uk.

Big Apple Harvestime, Much Marcle, 9th and 10th October

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From our friends at big Apple:

We’re delighted to announce that we are going ahead with Harvestime this year over the weekend of 9/10th October.  All the usual venues in and around Much Marcle will be involved – in fact, they can’t wait to get back to welcoming visitors.

We look forward to welcoming you to any (or all) of our nine venues, all of which are free to visit.  They are relatively close to each other and shown on the location map. However, some special events require advance booking as places are limited and we have to keep a careful control on numbers.  Booking for these events will open at 9.00am on Friday 17th September.

There will be lots of opportunities to enjoy the local orchards, see, hear and smell cider being made and taste many different varieties of apples, local ciders, perries and apple juices.

Most of the activities take place in the open air.  For those events taking place indoors (eg talks in The Haywain), please be prepared to wear a face covering.  For these indoor venues we will ensure there is effective ventilation.

We are still fine-tuning the activities so some of the events may change – please keep checking the website (link below).

Harvestime 9th-10th October, 2021

Days Cottage Apple Day 17th October 2021

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Dave Kaspar and Helen Brent-Smith hope to have their usual Apple Day Afternoon from 1 to 4 pm on Sunday 17th October 2021.
www.dayscottage.co.uk Upton Lane, Brookthorpe, GL4 0UT.

Check their or GOTs website nearer the time. Covid restrictions permitting.

Bring a few representative samples for identification and a small amount (two carrier bags) for juicing at the farm. Small charge for the latter.

Mulled apple juice, lovely apple and pear themed cakes, family event, music, heritage fruit to try and buy, rare trees for sale. Buy juice, cider and perry from unsprayed fruit.
Now is a chance to chat to Dave and Helen about your orchard/fruit questions. But they do get busy!

Browse their mature and young orchards, bring a picnic. Walk around the Museum Orchard of rare Gloucestershire varieties. Maps available (please return).

Signage will be out. One way system in operation. Yurt and roundhouse. Forest garden to explore.

Hartpury Orchard Centre/National Perry Pear Centre Open Afternoon 19th September

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Hartpury Orchard Centre/National Perry Pear Centre Open Afternoon (covid permitting)

Sunday 19th September 2021 2-5pm

with perry tasting, teas, probably cider/perry competition and perry pear display (80 varieties possible) and identification, books, leaflets and orchard gifts for sale.
https://www.hartpuryheritage.org.uk/events/annual-events/

For perry pear identification information see https://glosorchards.org/home/fruitvarieties/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2018/01/NationalPerryPearCentre_ID_Notes.pdf

Apple Day at Wolds End Orchard, Chipping Campden 23rd October 2021

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Saturday 23 October 10.30am – 4pm

Come to the Orchard and meet some of the “Orchardeers” caring for this 3 acre Traditional Orchard in Chipping Campden.

 

Since last November The Campden Society and The Friends of Wolds End Orchard have been working together to conserve this beautiful corner of glorious Chipping Campden.

 

We have 90 trees with eating, cider and cooking varieties as well as Perry and culinary pears, plus a few plums and young quince.

 

You will have a chance to wander around the veteran, mature and young trees, and learn about what we have done this year – as well as our plans for the future. We will also have some local apple juice for sale on the day.

 

Please email campdensociety20@gmail.com or foweo@gmail.com for more information.

 

Location: entrance corner of Aston Road and Back Ends, Chipping Campden, Glos GL55 6HR.

 

No parking on site – free parking at weekends available at the High School (a few minutes walk away, off Cider Mill Lane) or on Back Ends or the High Street.

 

Website: www.thecampdensociety.org/

Longney Apple Pruning and Orchard Maintenance Workshop 11th January 2022

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Martin Hayes is leading workshops at GOT’s lovely Longney Orchard (south of Gloucester by the River Severn) 10am-3pm or whatever time you can spare. Pandemic permitting.

No charge for GOT members. More details will be sent later to those who are interested. The morning session will either be pruning medium sized trees (no ladders) or helping to maintain the trees in other ways.

Then switch over in the afternoon.

Martin will go through Health and Safety and we would need everyone to sign in with an emergency contact phone number please. Bring own tools, gloves and boots. Thank you! Martin is very knowledgeable and there’s always something to learn and share. Stone fruit will not be pruned – only May to September on dry days for plums and cherries to reduce the chance of silver leaf disease.

Please book through Ann Smith ann@smithcovell.co.uk

Places will be limited. We look forward to seeing you!

 

News from Longney

Updates on the latest at our Longney orchards where we have new fencing, plus improved plumbing and water troughs.  And some new signage too. These would have been shown to everyone at our open day but unfortunately that was cancelled.  Sorry to all those disappointed but we hope these pictures will show some of the changes and, if you’re visiting, explain what’s what.

The latest works have been carried out for us by our neighbour Roger Godwin, whose farm team (Henry plus others) fitted in the works before harvest time. We had several long-standing issues to resolve, mainly improving plumbing to each of the four orchards and installing new fencing at the barn compound to reduce the chance of sheep getting in accidentally.

As a result we now have working, and plumbed in, water troughs in all the orchards (only two were plumbed in before) with all troughs compliant with current standards. This means the sheep will have a reliable supply wherever they are.

At the barn there is now a new fence isolating the compound from the Bollow/Long Tyning gates, so that livestock can pass freely between those two orchards without accessing the barn area.  This will, we hope, eliminate the occasional problem with sheep in the barn area, which is used for school groups and events.  We don’t want to put off visitors through, so there is a new pedestrian gate into the compound, spring-loaded to help ensure it’s kept shut!

The work by Roger’s team also included laying a water line to the toilet (not yet plumbed in) in case we want to have washing water there and, inside the secure store, a small handwashing basin for use by anyone attending events.

Not forgetting the scraping out of the seasonal pond areas in Middle and Lower orchards.

In addition to all this work we have also been improving some signage, in particular at the Fish House, where there is a new sign explaining the building, and our philosophy on how to manage it.

 

There are more pictures below showing all of these changes.  We are very grateful to Roger G and colleagues for their work on the plumbing and fencing.  And, as usual, Stuart Smith for his continuing work managing the whole area, including the new signs (thanks Juliet Bailey for help with those too) and Ann Smith for coordinating everything.  Pictures are by Ann and Stuart and also Jonathan Briggs.

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CANCELLED Longney Orchard Open Afternoon 12th September

This event is cancelled.

Sunday 12th September 2021 at 12-4pm,

Open to all. We welcome everyone, especially Longney locals, Longney schoolchildren and GOT members/families and volunteers. Browse the progress made with the mature and young orchards of Gloucestershire varieties and display boards. Juice, cider and perry for sale! BBQ but bring a picnic lunch and something to sit on (we have limited benches and chairs), suitable footwear (ground is uneven). There is a composting loo and running cold water. Please bring your own handsanitizer.

The site is part of the Severn Way. The Public Right of Way can be accessed from the white railings in Longney. No vehicular access. Please park at the lower end of Yew Tree Farm or sensibly in the road, being courteous to our neighbours. There are sheep in the orchard so any dogs must be kept on leads and keep gates closed please. We have a first aid kit and one of our committee is first aid trained.

Please check the GOT website glosorchards.org nearer the time for any changes (eg national covid-19 restrictions or bad weather).

We will also celebrate twenty years since GOT was founded.

Berwick Lodge Open Garden 8th & 9th July

posted in: Events, Past Events | 0

Berwick Lodge (Bristol)  are having Open Garden Days on 8th and 9th July, as part of the National Garden Scheme.

Martin Hayes and David Lindgren of GOT will be there to talk about fruit trees and supplying fruit juices made by Trust Juice and by Bushel & Peck.

The details:

🌷From 12pm – 5pm both days you can come up and enjoy the gardens at Berwick. £5 admission goes to the NGS charity.

🍰 Cream teas available to buy on the day

🌹 Meet our Head Gardener Robert (ex Highgrove) who will be around to chat to you about the gardens

🍎 Find out about what to do with fruit from your fruit trees with Martin from the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust (Thursday only)

TO BOOK: https://ngs.org.uk/view-garden/42255

Don’t worry, if the weather isn’t great we have a huge stretch tent in the garden with tables and chairs, to keep you dry 🌞

We look forward to welcoming you!

Longney Pruning Workshop #1

posted in: Past Events | 0

Thanks to those who helped us with pruning the apple trees at Longney on the first of two workshops by GOT on Tuesday 11 May 2021.

After being shown around the orchards, collections, habitats and barn, twelve keen GOT members and associates were given tuition by orchardist Martin Hayes before having a go themselves.

This week attention was on medium sized apple trees.  Plums are next – on 18th May (https://glosorchards.org/home/blog/2021/04/25/pruning-workshops/)

We are always keen for volunteers to help maintain the orchards, particularly with hand-weeding.

Please get in touch with Ann Smith via the website if interested.

Photos kindly provided by Gabby Davies, David Taylor and Melanie Getgood.

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Grangefield Community Orchard Pruning workshop 22nd May

posted in: Past Events | 0

Come and improve your orchard skills at this pruning workshop

Expert tuition from Martin Hayes of Gloucestershire Orchard Trust

Saturday 22nd May 11am to 3pm

All are welcome – £5 charge

For more information:

email: transition.cleeve@gmail.com

ring: 01242 244785

facebook: facebook.com/grangefieldcommunityorchard.com

Pruning Workshops: 11th & 18th May 2021

posted in: Past Events | 0

Martin Hayes is leading two pruning workshops at GOT’s lovely Longney Orchards on

Tuesday 11th May 2021 and Tuesday 18th May 2021 at 10am-3pm (or whatever time you can spare).  Booking essential (see below)

We welcome you even if you just want to come down and enjoy the orchards, take photos or just hear what Martin has to say. There’s always something new to learn or see! We also value any help members/volunteers can give at Longney, but there is no obligation. Anyone who would like to come regularly will also be welcome. We currently have school groups, special needs young people and asylum seekers that Martin oversees on other days.

11th May: Apple pruning

Morning: talk on GOT and orchard tour. Pruning of medium sized trees.

Afternoon: pruning of young trees.

18th May: Plum pruning

Same as above.

Booking:

Please book through Ann Smith on ann@smithcovell.co.uk

No charge! Maximum of 12 places for each day. You may be able to do both workshops.

Please bring:

A packed lunch/tea/coffee/snacks but juice is provided and will also be for sale. We will bring some extra biscuits!

Appropriate weather attire/stout footwear.

There is a barn, tables and chairs if it rains.

Please observe socially distancing, wear a mask and bring hand sanitizer/wipes for yourself, although we will have some. There is also running cold water and a composting toilet.

Martin has some tools but if you can bring gloves and any pruning tools, that would be extremely helpful.

We hope to bring some orchard-related books for sale, so please bring your cheque book (payable to “GOT”) or cash. We intend to let you browse/buy these at the white railings at 10am (too heavy to take the set down to the orchards!)

Health & Safety:

Martin will go through Health & Safety with you, but I will email a Risk Assessment to those who book. Martin is first aid trained and we have a first aid kit.

We will need in advance a list of attendees and emergency phone numbers.

The ground is uneven and there are brambles, nettles and low hanging branches. No climbing of ladders please, as we are not insured for that.

Please pile up any prunings into designated piles, rather than just leaving on the ground as we need to mow. Don’t put into the hedgerow please.

Parking/Meeting:

Please park sensitively near the white railings (near Bow Lane Cottage) at Longney or safely anywhere along the road. There is no vehicular access to the orchards – just continue on foot down the public right of way track at the white railings. The grid ref. for the white railings is SO 7598 1368.

Martin will either meet you at the white railings or just come on down (several hundred yards across arable to the orchards). In wet weather, the track is extremely muddy. First orchard is Long Tyning (long and thin) then Bollow. Also on site are Middle & Lower Orchards which have been planted up with heritage apple and plum trees of regional/national importance. Sorry, no dogs as we have sheep. Please keep gates closed.

Come and see the renovated barn, interpretation signage and enjoy the views and wildlife (we have several species of owls). This is a great opportunity to learn new skills or continue with already acquired skills.

Easter news from Longney

The pears (and the blackthorn and plums) are now in bloom, and we’ll post pictures of some of those soon, but today here are some more general pictures and news, highlighting recent work by students from the Apperley Centre in Stonehouse who visit regularly on Mondays and Wednesday mornings:

Martin Hayes, who supervises the students on site, explains the scarecrows:

Meet Sheila and Madoc, the Orchard Guardians or, their more common name, scarecrows.  These two handsome beasts were made by students from the Apperley Centre in Stonehouse.  They are guarding the wildflower seeds we have planted.  Last years wildflowers were eaten by the sheep that were let in when ramblers left the gates open!!

Other pictures below include the new bug hotel, also built with student help, some general views of hedgerow blossom and, the recently fallen ancient willow pollard, dead for some time but toppled by winter storms:

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Spring! Blossom time in orchards soon.

posted in: blossom, orchard, varieties | 0

Lockdown beginning to relax, and blossom time very soon.  Lots to look forward to.

And there’s blossom already underfoot (careful where you tread!).  Here are some pics of the wild daffodils at Vell Mill Meadow, which is also (since 2011) an orchard, near Dymock.

It’s a Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust Reserve, primarily for being one of the best local daffodil meadows (for which the area is famous).

But it’s also perfect for an orchard so GWT planted it up 10 years ago, with wide-spacing to keep the daffodil interest.

There’s a mix of local varieties of apple, pear and plum.

Pears and plums will be flowering very soon…

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New Year, New Revisions to the local varieties lists

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Jim Chapman has sent another revision of local apple varieties based on the results of the national DNA work.

 

The main changes for Gloucestershire in this update relate to the varieties Hagloe Crab and Pride of the Orchard which are identical, genetically-speaking, to the varieties Tupstones and Brithmawr (respectively).

 

For full information have a look at the updated summary document on our website here – but do note that this is not an easy read (and it helps if you have a copy of the original Gloucestershire Apples book!).

The Gloucestershire Cider Box for Christmas

If you’re looking for an unusual, tasty (and educational) gift to give this Christmas why not support some of our local orchards and buy the Gloucestershire Cider Box?  This is available from our friends at Bushel & Peck (run by David Lindgren, based in Winchcombe) and Orchard Revival (run by Tim Andrews, based in North Nibley).

About the case:

12 bottles of Gloucestershire cider and perry ciders from 6 Gloucestershire based cider-makers.  All are real, full juice ciders, a showcase of the quality and diversity of cider that’s available Gloucestershire, covering different styles of cider, with different fruit varieties from different locations.

A tutored tasting with The Ciderologist:

The case comes with links to an online tutored tasting with Gabe Cook, the Ciderologist. The case has two bottles of each cider, one you can drink during the tutored tasting and one to enjoy at your leisure, before or after.  The online session will take place on 17th December on Zoom but will be recorded for access afterwards.  So you don’t have to drink all six at once!

The case contains 2 each of:

BUSHEL+PECK: Fresh+Crisp; cider, an Eastern Counties-style cider made from unsprayed eating apples. Simple and refreshing. 2 x 500ml

DUNKERTONS: Breakwell’s Seedling; organic single variety cider. A fragrant and fruity sparkling medium dry cider. 2 x 500ml

JOLTER PRESS: Squeal; rich and flavourful medium sweet cider made from a variety of cider apples from the Forest of Dean. 2 x 500ml

ORCHARD REVIVAL: Festival; a popular blended West Country cider made from cider, dessert and culinary fruit.  Made by a small cider-maker in South Gloucestershire who is dedicated to restoring traditional orchards. 2 x 500ml

SEVERN CIDER: Perry; a delicate and crisp perry, made predominantly from Blakeney Red perry pears from this well-established cider-maker, located close to the River Severn. 2 x 330ml

THE WILD CIDER CO: Tyndale Gold; fruity aromatic cider pressed using a complex blend of cider apples picked from orchards under the watchful gaze of the Tyndale Monument. 2 x 500ml

 

Order from either Bushel & Peck or from Orchard Revival or from Wild Cider. Price per case is £36.50 plus £8.50 shipping (though local delivery may be available free, see links for details)

Or, if you don’t want the full case, why not look at all the other ciders and perrys on offer – there are links to all the 6 cider makers in the listing above and most have online shops.

Little Owl boxes (re)installed at Longney

The Little Owl boxes in our Longney Orchards have now all been erected in trees around the site, including the box whose original tree fell in strong winds earlier this year.

The boxes, kindly donated by the Gloucestershire Raptor Monitoring Group, were mounted on fruit trees and a pollarded willow at GOT’s Longney Orchards.

Thanks to Stuart and Pete who installed them all and to John Fletcher who advised on locations. They are level, even though they may not look so in the pictures!

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Enjoying Longney’s apples

posted in: apples, Longney, orchard | 0

A couple of pictures from Tobias Reynolds, an award winning Gloucester-based photographer, showing his wife and baby enjoying the apple crop at Longney.  Right-click the images to open full size in a new tab.

For more on Tobias’ work visit his website www.moochuk.com

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Topping under the trees at Longney

posted in: orchard | 0

Much of the orchard at Longney has been grazed this year but there’s still a need to cut some of the site.

As these pictures show the shepherd has recently made a very good start on topping with their own tractor (New Holland with a Rhino 3-bladed topper).

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Apple Day, 21st October

It’s Apple Day, as usual, on 21st October!

National Apple Day was launched in 1990 by Common Ground. Their aspiration was to create a calendar custom, an autumn holiday. From the start, Apple Day was intended to be both a celebration and a demonstration of the variety we are in danger of losing, not simply in apples, but in the richness and diversity of landscape, ecology and culture too. It has also played a part in raising awareness in the provenance and traceability of food.

The concept has become incredibly successful over the 30 years since – with events taking place all over the country organised by local orchard and apple groups, across a range of dates throughout October.  The Covid restrictions this year mean that there are rather fewer events than usual but some are still taking place and, if there are none near you, you can always celebrate at a local level in your own garden!

https://ptes.org/campaigns/traditional-orchard-project/orchard-network/apple-day/

https://www.commonground.org.uk/apple-day/

 

Harvesting at Longney

posted in: apples, harvest, Juice, orchard | 0
Picking Kingston Black at Longney

The Longney harvest is shared between several juicing and cider makers – including long-standing GOT supporters from both Days Cottage and Trust Juice.

 

These pictures are from Helen at Days Cottage, showing some of their harvest work a week or so ago:

 



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Creative Sustainability’s Longney Camp 2020

Here’s an inspiring report on this year’s Longney Orchard camp from the Creative Sustainability organisation. This local Community Interest Company organise (amongst many other things) camping weekends and day camps for disadvantaged young people, including disabled, refugees and asylum seekers.

Most of their camping programme had to be cancelled this year because of the Covid restrictions so the Longney event was particularly important this time.

Some quotes from the report:

‘I haven’t been into the countryside since I came to England, I don’t know where to go, whether I am welcome or safe or whether I have permission, or where I can walk’

‘This is the first sunset I’ve seen since coming to England’

‘..I found myself daydreaming of home before it became unsafe, for the first time. Normally I have nightmares. It’s being here at the orchard. It’s so peaceful – I slept well.’

‘I can see my home all around…(he pointed around the orchard as he spoke) these fruit trees, some crops, the muddy track, homes where my family, friends, aunties and uncles live, someone sleeping under the trees, the smell of cooking, goats here, chickens over there, camels and cows here’

‘It made me remember to live’

You can read the full report below or click here to download it. For more information on Creative Sustainability click here.

Click to access Report-for-Orchard-Trust.pdf

 

Celebration of Apples at Rockness Orchard  

posted in: apples, Juice, orchard, volunteers | 0

The Rockness Orchard Group had a very successful socially-distanced juicing day on 12th September.   The weather was kind and four groups of people took up five slots on the day (one group had a double slot).

Lots of credit to Fiona, who mobilised a number of local people into collaborating and participating in the day.

Pictures and words from Joy Way

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DNA Fingerprinting update – a review and update

posted in: apples, dna, identification, varieties | 0

Ainsleigh Rice from the Marcher Apple Network has recently written a very interesting and useful review of the DNA Fingerprinting initiative for us.

He explains how DNA fingerprinting can work, using marker pairs of DNA sequences, and gives some examples.  It’s complicated – you will need to concentrate!  And he goes on to discuss what this can (or cannot) tell us about each variety’s parentage.

The full text – as a pdf – can be read below or downloaded via this link.

Click to access Malus-Parentage-from-DNA-for-GOT-15Sep20.pdf

Another Update to Apples of Gloucestershire

Jim Chapman has produced another update to the summary of how the DNA project has changed our understanding of our local apple varieties.

The new version has sorted out references to the National Fruit Collection and the Register of Local Cultivars, but also includes a few minor corrections.

The new Apple document, dated July 2020 is available here.

The most recent equivalent for Pears, dated December 2019, is available here.

For more information on all this research click here.

Heritage orchards for sale – at Saycells Farm, Kempley, Gloucestershire

Update July 27th:   Good news – we understand that the house and orchards were purchased by a private buyer sympathetic to orchard conservation.

Here’s an opportunity for someone – or some organisation – to acquire and save nearly 30 acres of traditional orchard – with an option on a recently derelict (fire-damaged) farmhouse and yard too. The site is being offered in 4 lots at auction on 22nd July.

The location is Saycells Farm, once a significant player in our local orchard history.  Positioned just inside Gloucestershire but along the border with Herefordshire it is very close to the cider-making village of Much Marcle, where Westons Cider are based today.  But, back in the 19th Century, Saycells itself supported a cider and perry business as big as, possibly larger than, Westons.  The remaining traditional standard orchards – about 29 acres in total – reflect that legacy.

The land within the orchard lots also includes a rare parcel of flower-rich old grassland.  The orchards, and the grassland, are local and national biodiversity conservation priority habitats, so the wildlife value – and potential – is huge.  Maintaining the continuity of these habitats is completely compatible with reinstating fruit production and suitable grazing, so there is of course significant production potential too. There is also, sadly, a possibility of a new owner not wanting the orchards.

GOT is working with other groups and individuals to highlight the orchard value of the site – and we hope to galvanise the interest of persons wishing to own and care for this important conservation asset. We feel this is the surest way of avoiding the loss and damage that may follow a sale to persons not so motivated. There is a well-established local community orchard group – The Big Apple – very close by in Much Marcle who could support a new owner make a success the acquisition.

More details and links are below – but do get in touch with GOT or others if you want some advice – we can put you in touch with local orchard owners, some on adjoining farms, who can help explain the possibilities and potential.

Location:  Postcode HR8 2NP, gridref SO663312 – see map extract above.

 

The Auction details:

Saycells Farm is for sale at auction via HJ Pugh & Co, unless previously sold, at The Hazle Meadows Auction Centre, Ross Road, HR8 2LP on Wednesday 22nd July 2020 at 6.30pm.

Sale details are online at http://www.hjpugh.co.uk/full-details.php?id=2810&farm-much-marcle-ledbury-herefordshire-ledbury

There is also a pdf brochure available here:  http://images.portalimages.com/24206/29684739/brochure/s1/637268616575672537/33468ef07ed4d7bb6a6e022a6890d7fadb2d8357.pdf

The sale lots are (see map below right):

  • Lot 1 – derelict house, outbuildings and land of 10.3 acres which includes old traditional standard perry pear orchards with excellent vintage varieties including Blakeney Red, Brandy, Moorcroft and Thorn;
  • Lot 2 – traditional standard cider apple orchards (with a few standard perry pears) and permanent pasture alongside Kempley Road of 12.9 acres, which contains abundant wild daffodils. The mature fruit trees have a lot of dead wood = fabulous for bugs and birds;
  • Lot 3 – relict traditional standard perry pear orchard with species-rich, semi-natural neutral grassland of 6.27 acres (and an adjacent improved pasture of 14.75 acres) on north side of lane to St Mary’s Kempley – among which are 2 x Gregg’s Pit perry pear trees a rare variety.
  • Lot 4 – mixed secondary native broadleaved woodland and fishing pools of 37.45 acres with abundant Common Spotted Orchids along the rides and adjacent to the lakes; good stands of Yellow Flag, Water Mint, Marsh Thistle and Wild Angelica at the lake margins, and mature standard oaks and at least one mature yew tree within the secondary woodland plantation, as well as numerous mature standard oak and ash trees alongside the Kempley Road.

 

 

(Words from Mark July adapted by Jonathan Briggs)

Mason Bees return to Longney

posted in: bees, blossom, Longney, orchard | 0

Despite the lockdown this year’s consignment of mason bee pupae has been installed at Longney.  Transporting livestock is, of course, permitted!

13 bee boxes containing a total of around 300 tubes, plus 4 release boxes containing around 200 pupae were placed a few weeks ago (in time for most of the blossom).

No pictures from this season, but here are a few from last year, showing Keith Turner installing the boxes and tubes:

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Longney in lockdown

posted in: blossom, Longney, orchard, wildlife | 0

A few pictures from our Longney orchard, taken by Martin Hayes this week.

Lockdown or not it’s still spring in the orchard, the trees are flowering, the butterflies are out, and the river keeps on flowing:

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Blossom time for pears, not yet for apples…

posted in: apples, blossom, mistletoe, orchard, pears | 0

Most of Gloucestershire’s traditional orchards are a mix of apples, pears and some plums – and this becomes particularly obvious, some distance away, at flowering time with the pears flowering first.

We can’t get out much at the moment because of the coronavirus restrictions but here are a few pictures (slideshow below) of the orchard at Standish Court, just south of Gloucester, taken yesterday and showing how the pear blossom picks out the pears from the apples.

In this particular orchard the contrast is heightened by the abundance of mistletoe – which grows readily on apple trees but rarely on pears.  So the apples are covered in mistletoe, the pears are covered in blossom.

Note too that there have been some recent losses – trees blown over – and that this may well be due, at least in part, to too much mistletoe.

 

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GOT AGM postponed

posted in: AGM, meetings | 0

With the ongoing crisis over the coronavirus outbreak and emerging advice to minimise social contact, particularly for older age groups, we have decided to postpone our AGM, which was due to be on Saturday 18th April.

We will reschedule the AGM once the progress of the epidemic is clearer.  On current thinking the new date is likely to be some months away, possibly in the autumn.

We hope everyone stays safe – and do let committee know if you want to raise any questions in the meantime.

Jonathan Briggs
Chair, GOT Committee 17th March 2020

Fish House discussions

Jim Chapman, Anne Mackintosh, Jonathan Briggs, Steve Hurrell and Stuart Smith in front of the ivy-covered Fish House at Longney. Picture by Ann Smith

We had a very useful, and thoughtful, meeting with Stroud Preservation Trust (SPT) at Longney on 2nd February.

The derelict Fish House, at the riverside end of the orchard, is very much on our to-do list – decisions need to be made about its future, whether to leave it derelict or try and get funding to restore it it.

We had asked SPT, who specialise in restoration of historic buildings, for their views.  They had visited the building before, but this was our first joint visit, with Anne Mackintosh and Steve Hurrell of SPT meeting Ann and Stuart Smith, Jim Chapman and Jonathan Briggs of GOT.

Lengthy discussions followed, on site and over lunch afterwards, but as yet we have no firm way forward.  The general consensus was that getting funding would be very difficult, so there is no immediate prospect of restoration.  Other options will have to be considered.  More on this in due course!

Wassail, wassail, all over Gloucestershire

It’s wassailing time in many of our local orchards and we have a number of events already on the website.

You can see the full list here:  https://glosorchards.org/home/events/?tribe_paged=1&tribe_event_display=list&tribe-bar-date=2020-01-01&tribe-bar-search=wassail

Do have a look and come along to one – and if your event isn’t listed let us know and we’ll add it!

The image below is the Stroud Wassail Song – which you may hear at some of the events:

DNA analysis of local varieties – our part in the national review – and an update

We have, as many will know, been taking part in a national initiative using DNA analysis to rationalise and better understand local varieties – how they relate (literally!) to one another and whether some are identical to others.  And, where they are identical to others with differing names (perhaps in other areas) which name should take precedent,

This has been a challenging project, requiring leaf samples from named varieties being sent to labs, particularly East Malling Research centre in Kent, for analysis.  The project is not ours – though several people from the GOT committee are involved and we are significant contributors of samples – it is a national initiative we are helping with.  Updates on progress overall can be found on the FruitID website’s help pages: https://www.fruitid.com/index.html#help – click on Register of LocalCultivars for documentation.

But where, after 3 years or so of work, have we got to in Gloucestershire?

Well, we do now have new and revised lists of Gloucestershire apple and pear varieties – some details of which rock the boat a little – we have fewer ‘Gloucestershire’ varieties than we thought!  But that’s to be expected when everything is compared using DNA – there are bound to be matches and competing claims.

The revised listings (as at the end of November 2019) are now available on the varieties part of our website – https://glosorchards.org/home/fruitvarieties/research/
(Update:  the documentation there has been revised – in December 2019 (Pears) and February 2020 (Apples) since this posting – the original files available on the link have now been deleted and replaced by the updated ones)

Display boards installed at Longney Orchard

Our display boards are now installed in the barn at Longney – following sterling work by Stuart, Pete, Ann and Keith who had to battle quite a lot of mud to get onto the site.  Our thanks to all of them.

These are the boards used at the Folk Museum two years ago – always intended for Longney afterwards, and now they’re there!

Picture by Pete Smith

Juicing at COCO on the Glos/Worcs border

posted in: apple day, apples, Juice, orchard | 0

On Sunday 20th October 2019 members of Conderton and Overbury Community Orchard (COCO) gathered to press some of the juices of their fruit crop.

Lots of the young trees planted by the group were weighed down with fruit which was particularly good to see and the juice was sweet!

Juicing equipment was provided by Kemerton Orchard Workers – the next village – for a small donation to their fund.

For more info on COCO visit http://www.overbury.org/coco

 

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Tales from the National Perry Pear Collection

Jim Chapman has sent these updates about some of the pears in the National Perry Pear Collection – plus, at the end, some new info on some dessert pears too:

The Earlies:

Charles Martell, in his 2013 book Pears of Gloucestershire and Perry Pears of the Three Counties, refers to early pears being used to make a quick fermenting sparkling perry ready for Christmas, quoting as authority the late Ray Williams of Long Ashton Research Station.

The orchards at Wick Court in Arlingham, Gloucestershire have an orchard planted in the first part of the 19th century specifically for perry, using the traditional layout of early ripening fruit nearest the mill and later fruit further away, but all their earlies were reworked at some time with the later ripening pear Oldfield.

Recently we have been repropagating these earlies and will be trying to recreate the quick fermenting sparkling perry that was presumably once made at Wick Court. These early ‘harvest’ pears were once far more commonly found on farms, but are now rare, with their fruit not picked, but allowed to fall unused. One of the Wick Court pears, Island Gennet has also been found growing in the GOT orchards at Longney

The Lates:

Another puzzle we hope to resolve concerns a group of three pears whose DNA matches the early Thorn perry pear, but which consistently ripen a month after other Thorn. Again, Charles Martell refers to a later Thorn in his Pears of Gloucestershire, tentatively naming it the Murrell pear. Whether ours is Murrell is unlikely ever to be established, but it is presumably a sport or mutation of the commoner Thorn.

And dessert fruit too:

Another Wick Court pear is one recently named Queen’s Wick View, to commemorate the visit by Queen Elizabeth I. If she had indeed slept in the room tradition specifies (unlikely as it was not built until 50 years after her death!) and if the tree was then growing (which it wasn’t), it would have been in her view from the window.

For the last few years I have picked this pear to try to identify it, and this year tasted it long after picking, when it had done the circuit of shows for over a month – what a transformation, from being a rather indifferent, but apparently perry variety, it had sweetened to remain an unknown but now very pleasant Bergamot type dessert fruit !

All I have to do now is to discover whether I can find a ‘lost’ Bergamot whose description matches. The DNA does not match any pear currently in the National Collection at Brogdale.Thomas Hitt in 1757 wrote “as pears are the best fruit the winter months afford, they are worthy of the greatest care in preserving”. He continued “many thought to be second rate become delicious if stored correctly, melting and rich, but dry and tough if left to ripen outdoors”

NOTE: the orchards at Wick Court are not open to the public, but GOT does occasionally arrange visits to them.

Apple Days = Apple Cakes

We’re in the middle of Apple Day season – but instead of just another picture of people and apples, here’s a mouth-watering picture of some of the Apple (and Pear and Quince) Cakes on offer at the Days Cottage Apple Day last weekend.

There’s something for everyone at an Apple Day!

 

Apple Days galore, even in Gloucester City

It’s apple picking time and there are events all over the county to celebrate the harvest and customs of traditional orchards.  Many are billed as ‘Apple Day’ a concept established by the charity Common Ground way back in 1990.  Read more about that on their website at http://www.commonground.org.uk/apple-day/   Many Gloucestershire Apple day events are listed on our website on the Events pages at  https://glosorchards.org/home/events/category/allevents/

One particularly exciting event, in the centre of Gloucester itself, is at the Folk of Gloucester (Formerly the Folk Museum) where Gloucester Civic Trust will be hosting the Annual Apple day on Saturday 19th of October 2019 from 10am to 4pm. It will be a Celebration of Gloucestershire Apples and Cider Making.

Come and see Rosie the Cider horse, who is coming for the first time this year to help turn the apple mill and make Apple Day in Gloucester a success. She is taking over from Fergus who has now retired after five years of service.

“This is one of the last fully operational horse powered apple mills in the West Country” said Alex Bailey, Chairman of the Operations Team at The Folk, “and we are very fortunate that we can still demonstrate how it works”

There will also be a chance to try some rare breed apples provided by Gloucestershire Orchard Trust and they will be there to sell apple juice and ciders and provide advice on looking after your own apple trees.

There will be lots of Children’s activities available and Morris Dancers from Lassington Oak performing and giving Morris Dancing workshops.

We will have live music from a folk band and Bygonz performing at the event too.

For extra refreshment there will be Severn Cider running a bar with some of their favourite craft ciders available to buy.

This is a preview event for the Folk of Gloucester (Formerly Folk Museum) which is opening in Spring 2020 and will be an exhibition and events space housed in a large Tudor building in Lower Westgate, Gloucester. It will tell the story of Gloucester Folk from Tudor Times to the Modern Day.

The Folk will be operating a café during the event offering Teas, Coffees, Ciders and soft drinks.

Full Press Release is available here: https://glosorchards.org/home/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Apple-Day-Press-Release-2019.pdf

World Record for Perry Pears (again!)

Congratulations to Jim Chapman, who, at the National Perry Pear Centre’s Open Afternoon in Hartpury last weekend, displayed 108 varieties of Perry Pear, a World Record. Comfortably beating his own previous record of 97 varieties last year. Most were from the National Perry Pear Centre’s own Hartpury orchards, augmented by a few from Malvern.

You missed it? Don’t worry, you can see the display again next weekend in the Orchard Pavilion at the Malvern Autumn Show. Jim will be on hand to identify any perry pears you may like to bring. A donation is asked for to help the Trust’s work at the Centre.

And GOT’s own stand will be nearby with a Gloucestershire apple display, tasting opportunities for selected (ripe) apple varieties and juice for sale plus tree advice.

Harvest, and show, time

With Apple Day looming and the apple and pear crop ripening rapidly – some varieties earlier than others of course – it is time to think about orchard events and shows.

We have many listed on the website – including many dates for Apple Day – an event originally set as being October 21st by Common Ground (see http://commonground.org.uk/projects/orchards/apple-day/) but, not surprisingly, now spread out across many early autumn weekends.

Do have a look at the events list on the website – and let us know if you want your event added. The events page is at https://glosorchards.org/home/events/category/allevents/

The next event we’ll be at will be Malvern Autumn Show – this coming weekend – more about that soon…

Cider and Perry Awards at the Royal Three Counties Show in June 2019

Mattias’ display at the Show, with his Awards

Many congratulations to Mattias Pihlwret (manager at National Perry Pear Centre at Hartpury) who won:

  • best dry cider
  • best medium cider
  • was highly commended for perry
  • won the best Gloucestershire producer award and
  • received the overall trophy for best in Show (from international entries, not just from the Three Counties!

Mattias is a GOT committee member – and he obviously knows what he’s doing when it comes to Cider and Perry!

Snippets of Longney News – sheep and loo

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Our work at our Longney orchards is ongoing – and we are particularly pleased this season to finally have sheep grazing – which has been our ambition from the start.  The grazing will improve the orchards considerably – from a management, biodiversity and landscape perspective.

Meanwhile the fencing has been completed, benches erected in the barn and interpretation signage is in place. Young people with special needs continue to visit most Mondays and a charity camps in the orchards in early summer.

We also now have our new composting toilet from Free Range Designs up and running – many thanks to volunteers Stuart and Pete for installing. It is already proving popular, particularly with students and staff who visit each Monday! You can find it behind the renovated barn. Some final details need to be completed but it is fully functional.  For more about this design visit Free Range Designs here.

And, whilst we’re on the toilet (so to speak), could anyone please provide GOT with:sawdust or wood chip (preferably untreated)?  And a large lidded storage bin or wheelie bin? Please let Ann know if you can help via info@glosorchards.org  Thanks!

Days Cottage Blossom day brings in the crowds

Everyone enjoyed the magnificent apple blossom at Days Cottage Blossom afternoon last Sunday, 5th May.

Members, visitors and Stroud Farmers Market friends attended the event at at the Orchard & Rural Skills Centre, home not just of the Gloucestershire varieties of apple but also varied mature and young orchards and a forest garden.  Apple cakes and hot spiced apple juice were enjoyed in the cosy yurt.  Days Cottage juice, cider and perry and orchard honey and trees were for sale.  There was needle felting craft for children.

GOT committee were on hand to sell orchard-related books, hand out literature and chat about orchards.

We owe many thanks to Jane Willoughby who is turning up weekly (and today) to continue formally recording the blossom on the Museum Orchard Gloucestershire apple varieties for the Fruitid.com website.

Pictures by Ann Smith:

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Fish House and Mason Bees at GOT’s AGM 2019

At the Anchor Inn

Our AGM last weekend, at The Anchor Inn in Epney, was well-attended despite indifferent and rather windy weather – which we feared might put people off coming, especially for the orchard walkabout later.

Juliet’s Fish House presentation

After the official business was over we enjoyed two presentations – one on the Fish House (in our Longney Orchards) and one on Mason Bees.  Juliet Bailey led on the Fish House, summarising her review of the building last year, the changes in overgrowth since we took the site on and the options for the future.  In an ideal world we would be able to restore the building and find a use for it – but without funding or, indeed, an obvious use, we may have to consider other options. Juliet outlined the main scenarios – from full restoration to letting it fall down completely.  We had a lively discussion over the ways forward, particularly bearing in mind that we are an Orchard Trust and so must prioritise orchard conservation, and so finding a partner organisation more attuned to historic building work might be a way forward.  Some early ideas of partnerships are already being explored.

Learning about Mason Bees

This was followed by a presentation by Chris and John Whittles from Mason Bees UK (www.masonbees.co.uk) who promote the use of Red Mason Bees (Osmia bicornus) as pollinators for gardens and orchards.  They talked about their research on Mason Bee life cycles and pollination abilities, comparing this favourably with the more conventional concept of honey bees or bumble bees – Mason Bees being much more efficient.

Their presentation was wide-ranging – covering also experiences elsewhere (e.g. the US in Californian Almond Orchards) with other mason bee species, and the intriguing issue of observable better fruit following mason bee pollination.  This phenomenon is perhaps due to differing microbial interaction between bee and flower – with mason bee interactions different to honey or bumble bees.  The issue of colony health and good husbandry was covered too – Mason Bee UK’s system involve participants (Bee Guardians) sending the bee cocoons back to them each year to check for parasites etc, with the healthy cocoons and new nesting tubes sent back to hatch on site in spring.  This avoids the build-up of pathogens and parasites a permanent ‘bee hotel’ would suffer from.  For information on becoming one of their Bee Guardians visit their website here: https://www.masonbees.co.uk/bee-guardians

After lunch most of the attendees travelled the short distance north to our Longney Orchards, to view the changes over the last 12 months – barn restoration, fencing completion, grazing begun, remedial pruning completed etc.  And discussion continued about the Fish House – now almost invisible under its covering of ivy – and about Mason Bees – whose release boxes and new nesting sites could be seen on site.

Some more pictures from the day below (pictures by Ann Smith and Juliet Bailey):

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AGM, plus Mason Bees, the Fish House and an orchard walk

A reminder that it’s our AGM (in a pub!) this coming Saturday, 27th April – where, as well as AGM business, we will be discussing the historic Fish House within our orchards at Longney, learning about Mason bees from the people at Mason Bees UK and, if you stay until after lunch, walking around the orchard at Longney to see the blossom and recent changes (incl the restored barn and some sheep!).

Full details here: https://glosorchards.org/home/event/got-annual-general-meeting/

New signs at Longney

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Visitors to our Longney Orchards will now be greeted by an interpretation sign and map at each of the three entrances.

Funded by HLF and the Three Counties Traditional Orchards Project the new signs provide links to find out more about GOT, explain the orchards and invite visitors to explore.

More interpretation will be placed in the barn soon.

Many thanks to Stuart and Pete Smith for erecting the signs.

Click the images to enlarge them.

 

 

 

Pictures from our Community Orchards networking event

Last Saturday, 16th March, we held a networking event for community orchard groups at Toddington Village Hall.  Far too much was discussed to be reported here – maybe later when we’ve digested it all – but here are some pictures of the many and varied impromptu presentations given to everyone as we toured round the various stalls and displays.

Many thanks to all who attended, and to those who helped.  Especially to Alison Parfitt who conceived and masterminded the event.

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Pruning Workshops – help needed in November and December

Martin Hayes is leading pruning workshops at our lovely Longney Orchards on Thursday 29 November (update: cancelled due to the wind/rain) and Tuesday 18 December 2018, between 10am-3pm (or whatever time people can spare).

As well as people being shown how to prune we will need some people to help pick up brash into piles. If you can’t make these dates, then do come along any Monday in term time to pick up brash into piles supervised or any other time unsupervised. But please don’t do any pruning unsupervised!

On the workshop days you will need a packed lunch and all refreshments, something to sit on and appropriate weather attire/stout footwear. The ground is uneven and there are brambles, nettles and low hanging branches.

Martin has some tools but if you can bring gloves and any tools, that would be helpful.

Come and see the newly renovated barn and enjoy the views and wildlife (we have several species of owls)!

Please try to let Ann Smith know if you can make it. Martin’s number is 07900 985679.

This is a great opportunity to learn new skills or continue with already acquired skills, transferable to your own orchard!

For location details see our Longney Orchard page at https://glosorchards.org/home/got-orchards/  Please park sensitively near the white railings (near Bow Lane Cottage) at Longney.  There is no vehicular access to the orchards – just continue on foot down the public right of way track at the white railings).

And in other news…

We also have been advised of a scratter for sale: (Update, 26th November: this is now sold)
Scratter built by Workman’s of Slimbridge c1880. Refurbished to working condition and has been used at Winterbourne Barn in last four seasons.

Please contact Rob Govier at: enquiries@winterbournewillows.com to discuss cost, transport and for any other information.

The Squatter Communities of West Gloucestershire

Ann Smith writes:
Historian Dr. Nicholas Herbert, former editor of the Victoria County Histories, gave a fascinating talk about 17th/18th century squatters and their role in shaping the landscape of West Gloucestershire on Tuesday 16th October 2018 at the excellent venue of Gorsley Baptist Church.
Thanks to all who came and assisted, including the local history societies. Jim Chapman (GOT and curator of the National Perry Pear Centre) gave an introductory talk, discussing the contribution squatters and smallholders have made to overall fruit production in 18th/19th centuries.
Thanks to the Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project for funding this. Karen Humphries, was also thanked for leading the project over the last three years.
Photos by Ann Smith

Red Mason Bees at Longney Orchards – 2018 results

Our friends at masonbees.co.uk have recently analysed the uptake of the Red Mason bee tubes placed at Longney this year (see our bee report from August here). These bees are important and efficient pollinators for many plants, including fruit trees.

The Mason Bee scheme involves the bee tubes being sent back each season for assessment and to ensure the bee cocoons remain safe and viable for next year. These are returned for the following season.

edf

Our results for this season were impressive with 39 sealed cardboard tubes producing a total of 256 cocoons averaging 6.6 cocoons per tube.  These were of ‘excellent quality’ weighing in at 26.75 grams per 250 cocoons. Only 4 cocoons were discarded because they were to small and unlikely to be viable.

This confirms their, and our, impression that the orchards are an ideal location for Mason Bees and we will be continuing placing tubes next year, returning our own cocoons to the site and perhaps expanding to cover more of the orchard.

If you want to know more, or would like to try Mason Bees on your own land or garden in 2019 do visit the Mason Bees website at masonbees.co.uk.  If you sign-up to their Bee Guardian scheme (a single one-off payment that will cover many years) they will send you a stock of Red Mason bee cocoons and everything you need to support the population of bees that emerge next spring – and the spring after that, and the spring after that!  Details at https://www.masonbees.co.uk/product-page/become-a-guardian-with-masonbees-2019

Longney Barn Update

posted in: Longney, orchard, orchard history | 0

Work on the barn in our Longney orchards is almost complete (thanks to the hard work of Kelly Carpentry Services of Cheltenham, funded by a grant we had from Heritage Lottery Fund).

Here’s what it looked like before (left) and below are a few pictures of how it looks now:

 

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Days Cottage Apple Day

Some notes from the events at Days Cottage on National Apple Day, Sunday 21st October 2018.  Apple Day, originally launched by Common Ground in 1990, has become an essential part of the orchard calendar.

Helen Brent-Smith and her papermache apples

At Days Cottage scores of visitors came along to see the Orchard and Rural Skills Centre, just south of Gloucester, to enjoy the sunshine in wonderful old and young traditional unsprayed orchards.

 

People could have fruit identified, order and buy heritage fruit trees, juice apples, appreciate the wildlife, listen to musicians, try spoon carving, and taste and buy juice, cider and perry and rare apple varieties.

 

Apple Pear Portraits

There were activities for children too, including making the longest peel and sitting for a most unusual portrait! Folk could relax in the cosy yurt or roundhouse and imbibe mulled apple juice or eat from a range of delicious apple and pear cakes.

 

GOT was on hand to sell orchard books, including Charles Martell’s apple, pear and plum pomonas (also available to buy from the GOT online shop).

For more information on Days Cottage visit their website at www.dayscottage.co.uk

Photos by Paul Bloomer and Ann Smith.

Work begins on the barn at Longney

Martin Hayes discussing the barn works with Pete the builder

This week, after lots of planning, work has begun to restore the barn at Longney, with our building contractors Pete and Rosco preparing to put up scaffolding before taking the roof tiles off.

The work will involve jacking up the roof timbers, repairing and replacing timber where needed, repairing the brickwork of the walls, re-building the interior room at the north end and putting all the roof tiles back again.

The open part of the barn will become an exhibition space and shelter for visitors and volunteers working in the orchard and the enclosed room will become a tool store and toilet.

Before work began we needed to clear the piles of material stored in front of the barn. Our regular visitors, students from the Apperley Centre (part of the Shrubberies School) in Stonehouse, have recently been learning how a human chain works, helping move the big pile of bark chippings using buckets:

Three new pear varieties

Zealous

And yet more pear news from Jim Chapman who writes:

Felix

Three new pears discovered at Wick (near Arlingham) have now been named. One is now Zealous, which we have also found in Wales. This means the National Collection now covers the full A – Z of perry pears – from Arlingham Squash to Zealous!

The second is now Felix, because I always take the pears to shows in Felix cat boxes.

The third I am provisionally calling Island Gennet as it is a very early pear (Gennet) found at both Longney and Wick. I am checking whether Island is the best way to refer to the area between the Canal and Severn.

The first two featured in our record breaking display of 97 varieties at Hartpury recently.

The Buttersend perry pear rediscovered

Buttersend trees

More pear news from Jim Chapman who writes:

Buttersend is a perry variety originally identified by Long Ashton Research Station in the 1950s, but subsequently considered to be merely a form of Blakeney Red.

Buttersend pears

The re-discovered trees, in a location near Hartpury, are now looking aged and last year I decided to use DNA to double-check that they were actually Blakeney Red. They are still fruiting well, and the fruit does look similar to Blakeney Red, as can be seen in this photo of immature fruit (taken early August)

But the DNA results reveal that it is a unique variety, so the Buttersend is reinstated! It is a perry pear worth planting, with specific gravity, acid and tannin percentages already ascertained by Long Ashton (see original record card below).

It is now being budded and will in due course take its place in the National Collection!

Original LARS record card for Buttersend pear. This card, with holes round the edges is designed for sorting into types – holes indicating particular attributes were nicked using a tool and, by this means, all varieties with that attribute could be selected from a pile of cards by inserting a rod through the unbroken holes. This card may have been made by Cope-Chat in Stroud, who specialised in making this sort of information management stationery in the days before computers.

97 varieties – Pear id on Heritage Open Day

Jim Chapman leads the ID workshop

Jim Chapman led a fascinating workshop on 15th September at Hartpury Orchard Centre/National Perry Pear Centre, with an introduction, guidance on use of manuals and keys to dessert and culinary pears, plus using manuals and a new approach to keys to perry pears. This was followed by a practical workshop identifying samples of pears, apples and plums (the latter from stones).

There was an opportunity to view for comparison an extensive display of named perry pears (a record 97 varieties!).

Mattias was on hand at lunchtime to show the cider and perry making equipment and provide tastings.

In addition, Jim gave advice on perry orchard planting, choice of variety, rootstock etc and a tour of the perry trial orchard.

GOT was on hand to advise on county and national networking opportunities and resources.

This event was funded by the Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project/Heritage Lottery Fund.

Photos by Ann Smith.

 

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Success with Red Mason Bees at Longney

Red Mason Bee (not at Longney) constructing a nest site in a uPVC window vent (with the front removed).

Despite very poor spring weather, efforts to increase the population of Red Mason bees in our Longney orchards have been rewarding. We are increasingly confident that the small relic population of these “super pollinator” insects, which were found in 2017 remains and, thanks to help from Mason Bees UK, may now be multiplying.

One of the artificial nesting sites provided at Longney

The Red Mason bee is a delightful species. Much smaller than the ubiquitous Honey bee, and having a pretty, dusky red colour (and NO sting!), Red Mason bees emerge in April and May from their over-wintering cocoons, or pupae. They immediately search out early blossoming fruit trees, especially apples, and are able to pollinate far more efficiently than most other bees on the wing in spring.

Research has shown that even though, usually, they do not forage more than about 50 metres from their nesting location – usually small natural holes within the trees -they are able to pollinate more blossom, under more inclement conditions, than almost any other bee species. Which is why they are probably among the most valuable of insects to orchard owners.

In 2017, with advice and help from Mason Bees UK, around 16 artificial nest pipes – each  holding special cardboard tubes for egg laying and storing pollen food –  were placed in Long Tyning and Bollow. These would help to ascertain whether there were Red Mason bees present among these long established trees. At the end of the season, 4 of the 15cm cardboard tubes held within several of nest pipes had been used by the bees. Clearly we had a small active population. These filled tubes, each containing up to 5 pupae, were sent to Mason Bees UK to be opened, inspected and stored over the winter. Healthy pupae were then returned to us this spring, together with additional 40 pupae and 2 release boxes, for redistributing among the trees in order to try and boost numbers for the future.

Release Box and Nesting Site at Longney
Red Mason Bee carrying mud to construct nest.

The year’s results have been most encouraging. A total of 11 nest pipes contained 39 “sealed” (with characteristic clay – type soil plugs) cardboard tubes – a most encouraging result. These will again be returned to Mason Bees UK for the winter, with a new consignment of pupae arriving in Longney in March/April next year. We hope this will result in another year of significant increase during 2019, beyond which we could be well on the way to achieving a healthy self – sustaining population. We will, of course, be liaising closely with Mason Bees UK, as their objective is to substantially increase Red Mason bee populations nationally to the point where stocks can be offered to commercial orchard owners to boost fruit yields. And of course, help secure the future of this valuable native species. We will keep you posted!

Our great appreciation to Mason Bees UK for their advice, support and encouragement. Do have a look at their website at masonbees.co.uk.

Keith Turner

August 2018

 

Plum Day and Plum Festival

This weekend saw the first ever National Plum Day, recently established as being the 2nd Saturday of August each year.  The aim is help restore plums to the top of the British fruit charts. The Day has been set up by the Pershore Plum Festival, the Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project and The Vale Landscape Heritage Trust.

Commenting on the launch of National Plum Day, event organiser, Angela Taylor said:

“Plums were once the nation’s favourite fruit and for good reason, they even helped win WW1 as jars of plum jam kept the troops in the trenches going. Plums are packed with nutrients and antioxidants, said to help control obesity and diabetes, aid digestion and are great for skincare – to name but a few benefits. What’s more, we grow them here in the UK, yet many plum orchards have fallen into neglect. We want to see this versatile fruit top shopping lists and restaurant menus again and National Plum Day is the perfect place to start”.

It may be too late to celebrate Plum Day (it finished yesterday!) but the Pershore Plum Festival happens throughout August. It celebrates its long association with plums of all varieties and sees this riverside market town become a sea of purple and yellow, reflecting the colours of its two most famous plums – the Pershore Purple and the Pershore Yellow Egg Plum.

The main events of the Pershore Plum Festival take place from Saturday 25 – Monday 27 August.  Full details are available on the festival website: www.pershoreplumfestival.org.uk

Longney Updates, June 2018

A few snippets of news from last month in our Longney orchards – including the new signboards, barn, the plums, the community and the wildlife.

We are hoping to do repairs to the barn, on the boundary of Long Tyning and Bollow orchards, this summer, and have been clearing the vegetation around it in preparation for this. Particular thanks are due to Martin, Alison and the Monday special needs school kids for clearing the wire and vegetation on the north and east sides and to David and Martin for additional clearing on the southern end.

There has also been much remedial pruning of the plums in Bollow orchard, carried out by Martin and David in recent weeks.  Summer pruning of plums helps to reduce any further infection with Silver Leaf Disease.

Meanwhile, in Longney village, we have been promoting GOT and explaining our involvement in the orchards at the Longney village school fete, where Alison and Martin found Trust Juice to be a real draw that led to lots of conversations about the orchards and their wider value.

New sign boards have recently been designed (thanks Jane) for the orchards, one for each of the three entrances – from Longney, and North and south from the river path. These will be installed soon.

And, last but not least, John Fletcher has been recording wildlife, particularly birds, at the orchards.  His most recent bird lists include Barn Owls, Buzzard, Swifts (circling the orchards all afternoon), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Dunnock, Green Finch, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Song Thrush, Bullfinch, Collared Dove, Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler (one pair busy taking food to a hidden nest to some very noisy young) and Reed Warbler.  Some of John’s excellent photos of his Longney sightings are shown in the slideshow below (all pictures copyright John Fletcher):

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Two new books: on Plums and on the Shadow Orchard…

We have recently (May 2018) helped launch two new books – Native Plums of Gloucestershire by Charles Martell and The Shadow Orchard by Jim Chapman. Details of both (with ordering buttons!) are below.

Native Plums of Gloucestershire

by Charles Martell (2018)
Volume 4 in the Gloucestershire Pomona series
ISBN: 978-0-9927394-4-7  (46pp)

The first section of this book describes the stone fruit of Gloucestershire and completes Charles Martell’s trilogy of Gloucestershire fruit manuals (the others being Gloucestershire Apples and The Pears of Gloucestershire Perry Pears of the Three Counties).  The three volumes together remind us of the debt owed to Charles who, appreciating the rapid loss of our orchard heritage, undertook the mammoth task of tracking down those fruit varieties that still remained, creating the Gloucestershire collections of apples, pears and plums.

The second section discusses what is meant by the names plum, bullace, pruin and damson and when and how they arrived in our countryside, with a brief comment on identification. Much of this section was inspired by the presentations and discussions at and following the National Stonefruit Conference organised by the Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project at Hartpury in August 2017.

It then considers the Shadow Orchard and the emergence of fruit into the managed orchard. It looks at the uses of the plum and cherry in recent centuries and today. Finally, it describes the stonefruit heritage collection being planted by Gloucestershire Orchard Trust in their orchards at Longney and its purpose.

Hardback £28.50

Softback £17.00

The Shadow Orchard

by Jim Chapman (2018)
ISBN: 978-0-9927394-5-4  26 pages

The Shadow Orchard is the name given to the fruit-bearing trees found growing outside the cultivated orchard, in the surrounding hedges, woods and commons. Their origins are either as indigenous trees or as otherwise long-established features of the landscape.

In this booklet Jim Chapman explains and explores the Shadow Orchard, its fruits, uses, origins and its conservation significance and needs.

Softback £4.00

To see more about these or any of our other books please visit our Bookshop page.

Dawn Chorus at Hartpury

Jim Chapman writes:

On one of the best mornings of this spring, 17 folk arrived just before dawn (5am) to ramble round the Hartpury orchards and listen to the birds waking up.

It was a superb morning – there was a low-lying mist to start, then a huge sunrise.

Led by Keith Turner, we heard (and he identified) 31 different birds, including the rare Cetti’s warbler again – they are becoming regular visitors and at least one pair is probably breeding.  As usual the cuckoo made its presence known – one of the orchards has always been known as the Cuckoo Pen.

Toast and hot drinks rounded off the morning – sitting at the picnic tables, overlooking Catsbury hill, with perry pear orchard in the foreground – and all before 7am!!

Magical!

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Blossom time – a few pictures from Longney and Days Cottage

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Well, it’s been a odd blossom season so far, many trees flowering later than usual and others flowering at the right time.

 

At Days Cottage last weekend the Blossom Afternoon had less blossom than expected but, as the brief animation on the left shows, everyone enjoyed themselves!

 

There are a few more pictures from the event below – including some of the musical interlude. We do have a video of some of this, and may upload that soon.

Meanwhile, down on the riverside at Longney, the situation is similar, with some trees in full blossom and others yet to gain full glory.  Pictures below:

Others are already over and done – it all depends on the variety: The picture below shows a tree on the hill above Wick Court, photographed today.  Some is in full bloom, some has finished flowering, indicating that this tree is a grafted tree where the original rootstock has developed its own branches, making a half and half tree of two varieties, each with a different flowering time:

Pruning day in Gorsley

posted in: GOT Events, pruning, volunteers | 0

A lovely day was had by young and old in an orchard in the village of Gorsley, near Newent last Saturday, 21st April.  The workshop was organised by GOT and funded by TCTOP.  There was lots of cake and tea on hand to keep the band of workers motivated throughout the day.  Martin Hayes was the expert who provided the tuition and direction so that everyone of any skill level could make a valid contribution to helping to restore this lovely traditional orchard.  At the end of the day everyone retired to the pub for food, drink and a speech of thanks from Martin.

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Blossom afternoon at Sue Gibson’s garden

posted in: blossom | 0

GOT enjoyed a blossom afternoon with cream tea at Sue Gibson’s apple and pear espalier garden at Slimbridge on Sunday 22 April 2018.

Sue teaches gardening and the training of fruit trees in small spaces.

She gives 10% discount on courses to GOT members. School Gibson School of Gardening: http://www.iteachgardening.co.uk

Visit our events pages for more events at Sue’s garden.

And, talking of blossom, don’t forget the Blossom Afternoon at Days Cottage on Sunday 29th April. As Dave Kaspar pointed out a few days it looks as if we may have plums, cherries, pears and apples all flowering at the same time this year – very unusual…  Details here:  https://glosorchards.org/home/event/blossom-afternoon-at-days-cottage-orchard-rural-skills-centre/

AGM round-up

Our AGM on 14th April took place at the Anchor Pub, Epney in the morning, followed by a walkabout in our orchards at Longney after lunch..

After the official AGM business was concluded we spent an hour or so discussing the future of GOT. While celebrating the success of our work at Longney we were looking forward – discussing what GOT could do next, how GOT could create mutually beneficial relationships with others such as orchard owners and other organisations with relevant interests. Five discussion groups came up with a series of suggestions, many complementary to each other. As with any voluntary organisation, we can’t do everything at once but these bright ideas have opened up lots of possibilities. (Thank you Alison Parfitt for masterminding the discussion groups)

The walkabout in the afternoon was blessed with beautiful weather, with wonderful views down the river and across the new plantings at the orchards.

Some pictures, courtesy of Paul Bloomer, below, showing the AGM itself, the discussion groups afterwards and finally the walkabout…

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Just to remind everyone it’s our AGM this Saturday, 14th April.

We are meeting at the Anchor Inn, Epney from 10.00am to 1.00pm and afterwards (you can buy lunch at the pub) we will be going on to our nearby Longney Orchards for a walkabout to see the new Gloucestershire Collection Plantings, at about 2.00pm.

At the AGM we are selling orchard books, including Jim Chapman’s new Shadow Orchard booklet (IF back from the printers – we hope so!) and we are taking orders for Charles Martell’s Plum Pomona – a very rare book, all about Gloucestershire plums & damsons! We will have the proof for you to look at. Many other orchard books for sale.

While we celebrate the achievements at our Longney orchards we also need to look forward. So during the AGM we are asking people to join discussions to talk together about:

  • how we can make use of and contribute to our new website
  • how can GOT gain income – we already sell our fruit from Longney
  • what can GOT do for and with orchard owners in Gloucestershire
  • what would you like to see GOT doing in the FUTURE? In say 5, and then 10 years hence

Please note that after the AGM in the morning we be driving the short distance to Longney Orchards.  Please don’t park at the orchard entrance (ie not at the white railings) but a few hundred yards at YEW TREE FARM as the verges are getting so muddy and need to recover.  Roger Godwin has kindly offered us parking in his yard at Yew Tree Farm – there will be signage.

You will need wellies as it is a muddy walk down the public footpath to the orchards. We look forward to seeing you!

AGM Agenda and other details are at https://glosorchards.org/home/event/got-agm/

A ‘doing day’ at Longney

Martin Hayes has sent in some photos of the activities at Longney today – where volunteers were weeding, tidying and generally making things good.

Martin writes:

“The first ‘Doing Day’ at Longney orchards . Removing barbed wire from trees and putting up wire guards . Preparing for the arrival of sheep in April/May.

Attendees were Alison Parfitt, Sue Gibson, Tim Andrews (OC), Jude, Sally the ‘Orchard Ninja’ and Martin Hayes

Thank you one and all.

Keep an eye out for the next ‘Doing Day’ in April. All welcome”

If the people in the pictures look a little odd in their poses, remember that they are removing wire from trees!

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New Year, New Orchard!

posted in: apples, Longney, orchard | 0

A picture of the new Gloucestershire Collection plantings at our Longney Orchards.  This a 180 degree panorama. Click to enlarge, or right-click to open in a new tab to see it full-sized (you’ll need to scroll left and right!)

The culmination (so far!) of our efforts to establish two major new orchards adjoining our existing orchards on land alongside the River Severn. These new orchards, known as Middle and Lower Orchards, will be home to over 250 varieties of mainly Gloucestershire apples, plums and cherries, totalling over 450 trees.

These represent one of the most extensive plantings of heritage fruit varieties in the Three Counties for some time. They will help to safeguard the genetic and cultural riches in this part of the country and across the UK. Once DNA and other varietal checks are completed, these new plantings will mean that our Longney orchards are likely to become part of the National Fruit Collection.

Many thanks to both Tim Parry (mostly Middle Orchard) and Martin Hayes (mainly Lower Orchard) for the planting work.