Orchard History Project, working with GGLT – your help needed! From 19th June.

We are working with Gloucestershire Gardens and Landscape Trust (GGLT) on a new project looking at archival records of the county’s orchards to assess their history, cultural importance and their current status. And using this to help promote orchard knowledge to our members and the wider public.

We will be inviting people to help on a field day at Longney on 19th June, with archive research on 16th July.  Full details below:

Objective

The main aims of the project are:

  • to research and reveal the history of orchards in Gloucestershire by investigating the archival record, in order to build a picture of the importance of orchards generally, and within the landscape and culture of the county;
  • to visit one or more orchards to assess their current standing (by completing the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) standard survey form) to help keep the orchard database up-to-date and to assess the potential for orchards to be improved;
  • to communicate the findings of the project to members/supporters of GGLT and GOT to spread knowledge of the county’s orchards within the wider community;
  • to develop research and online mapping skills with project participants to enable further studies to be pursued in the future, if of interest to participants.

Method

The project will achieve its objectives by:

  • inviting participants to a ‘field day’ at GOT’s orchard at Longney to give participants the knowledge and confidence to complete the standard PTES orchard survey – this session will be led by David Lindgren, Chair of Trustees of GOT;
  • inviting participants to a ‘research morning’ at Gloucestershire’s County Archive to give participants an understanding of the material that is accessible and how to access that material – this session with be led by Dr. Anthea Jones of GGLT;
  • Inviting participants to an online training session on how to access the PTES database and maps of Gloucestershire’s orchards – this session will be led by Steve Oram of PTES.

Participants will be asked to select an orchard or orchards to study, either current or historical.  This could be an orchard known to them, close to their home or within a particular parish of particular interest to the project group – it is for participants as individuals or as a group to decide.  Project participants will then research and visit their orchard(s) at a time of their choosing, to build a picture of that orchard and to conduct an assessment of its current state (if the orchards still exist).

Timing and Results

  • Longney field day on Wednesday 19th June, 2024
  • Archive research day on 16th July, 2024
  • Collation of findings and results from July to November 15th, 2024
  • Publication of findings and results by GGLT and GOT from December 15th, 2024

Longney Orchard – Monthly Management Workshops from 22nd June

New regular workshops are planned at Longney.

From Saturday 22nd June (and each subsequent 4th Saturday of each month – 27th July, 24th Aug, 28th Sept, etc) we’ll be hosting an orchard management workshop at Longney, with the objecting of helping to maintain the orchard in general terms as well as pass on particular knowledge from time to time.

From 10:00 am to 13:00 on each occasion.

The aim is to build a group of people able to participate on a regular basis.

Scything courses at Longney, 11th May, 15th June, 25th July, 16th August.

Keep fit. Cut grass in an environmentally friendly way. The Trust will be running two all-day scything courses at Longney in 2024, on Saturday 11th May, Saturday 15th June, Thursday 25th July and Friday 16th August..

The courses will be run by Nicole Clough, a dedicated environmentalist who has spent much of her working life in the wildlife and conservation movements. The course will introduce attendees on how to use and look after an Austrian scythe, is suitable for complete beginners and also for those who may already have some experience but feel that scything could be working better for them.

– Introduction and familiarisation
– Setting up an Austrian scythe
– Movement and technique
– Mowing practice (there is usually an abundance of grass and nettles at Longney!)
– Sharpening in the field
– Maintenance and peening the blade

Space is limited to 6 attendees per course. The cost – partially subsidised by the Trust and thanks to a donation from Martin Hayes – is £50 per person for members (and £65 for non-members – which includes 1 year’s membership).

If you’d like to attend then please get in touch with David Lindgren David.lindgren@glosorchards.org or Martin Hayes Martin.hayes@glosorchards.org