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!
Some pictures from the Wassail at Hartpury on 31st January:
These were taken by Ann Smith.
There are some more pictures on the Hartpury Orchard Facebook page, taken by Terry Darrington:
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:
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)
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
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
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
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.