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:
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.
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 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):
The Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project have just announced details of Stone fruit: An orchard conference.Taking place on Saturday 19th August in the lovely setting of Hartpury College, this is an exciting opportunity for orchard enthusiasts, fruit lovers, growers and researchers to come together to network and share experiences, knowledge and resources.
The line up of speakers includes Jim Arbury (RHS), Nick Dunn ( RHS, Frank P Matthews), Helen Stace (Colwall Orchard Group), Jenni Waugh and Professor Maggie Andrews (University of Worcester), Paul Read (Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group) and Dr. Matt Ordige (University of Reading), covering topics as diverse as pests and diseases to social history and local collections. And while the emphasis is on traditional orchards we’ll also be looking at what the future holds for growing and conserving our local stone fruits.
At lunch time you’ll be able to browse an orchard ‘bazaar’ – stalls offering advice and information , including Natural England, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Walcot’s organic nursery, Bewdley cherry expert, Brian Stephens, The People’s Trust for Endangered Species and local orchard and conservation groups. There will also be a chance to look at Gloucestershire Orchard Trust’s pioneering LOMIS orchard mapping system, now being trialled in their orchards.
Do bring along your own stone fruit to add to a display table – let’s see how many varieties we can show !
Our Longney Orchards were host this month to Creative Camping, run by a Gloucestershire-based project running innovative children’s services projects.
The camping project enables disabled and non-disabled teenagers to spend the weekend together under canvas, encouraging self agency, positive risk taking, cooperation, friendship and inclusion. And, in this location, also helping build understanding and appreciation of traditional orchards! Here are a few pictures of the camp this month – more are planned.
You can find out more about Creative Camping and Creative Sustainability CIC (who run the camps) on their website here: http://www.cscic.org/info/
‘Creative Camping is not just an event is a place close to my heart. Before going to creative camping I was a shy a non-confident person who was too sacred to talk to new people …’
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.
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):
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.
As part of our new website project we are planning to do a lot more with social and interactive media, including video, and so we are pleased to announce that our new YouTube channel is now live and available to visit at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwhbZYL3QnP2kTZ61exoQJg
So far we have 4 videos, all made for us by by Sarah Pitt and David Parkinson last year, and all starring our chairman Keith Turner talking about specific orchard issues including maintenance, choosing the right root stock, and orchard biodiversity, Here he is explaining why orchards are magic places:
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..