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

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

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:

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.

Wassails 2018

posted in: orchard, wassail | 0

Next month there are a number of traditional orchard Wassails which are well worth going along to.  They are great fun for all the family: young and old alike.  There’s often singing, story-telling, dancing, food and of course cider!

Our Partner Events page lists some of them – or you can click the links below to get more details on specific wassails:

Perry Christmas everybody!

Apple Days 2017 #3: Some seasonal pictures from Longney

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

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

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

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Apple Days 2017 #1: Days Cottage on the Radio

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

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

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

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

 

 

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