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

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

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

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

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

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Wick Court Workshops – Reading and Pruning

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

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

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

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Wyre Forest Cherry Orchard Visit

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

Orchard Exhibition at Gloucester Life Museum

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

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

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GOT’s new logo

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

 

 

AGM 2017 and Longney Orchards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blossom Time #2 Apple Blossom

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

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

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

posted in: GOT Events, Longney, orchard | 0

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

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

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

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

About the venue and the AGM:

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

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