Orchard Tour 26th April 2024

We are arranging a tour of orchards in the northern reaches of Gloucestershire – we’ll cross the border into southern Herefordshire, so you’ll need to have your passport with you and had all the necessary jabs – and have set a date of Friday 26th April.

The date has been chosen in the hope and expectation that many of the fruit trees in the orchards we’ll visit will be in blossom, the likelihood of which is enhanced that the orchards we’ll be visiting contain both perry pear and apple trees … (but the presence or otherwise of blossom is, of course, determined by natural forces, well beyond the control of the Trustees).

Price per person: £20

Details of the itinerary will be confirmed in due course, but the current plan is as follows:

– Meet at Henley Bank, Brockworth, at 10:00.
– Tour of Henley Bank orchards
– Visit two orchards in an around Dymock and Bromesberrow
– Visit orchards in Putley and / or Preston Cross
– Tour of an orchard in Overbury
– Tour of an orchard in Winchcombe
– Return to Henley Bank, Brockworth at 16:00.

We can have a maximum of 15 people. To reserve your place please contact either David Lindgren David.lindgren@glosorchards.org or Martin Hayes martin.hayes@glosorchards.org

First Plum Day report from Hartpury

Jim Chapman writes, about the Plum Day held at Hartpury at the end of August:

“We eventually had about 35 plums in the plum display, with others discarded having gone over – I realise now why nobody does one, would have been far better a week earlier. Next year, if I try again, I will let the plums dictate the date and then announce it on facebook, not try to advertise a date ahead ! However we had visitors from Evesham and Pershore saying that even the Pershore Plum Festival didn’t display many.

60 people turned up, so not bad for a first attempt (if I am honest I think many were attracted by the tap bar!). Visitors particularly enjoyed tasting some Victoria alternatives – Jimmy Moore, Cox’s Emperor (Denbigh), and of course, Bristol. Still waiting to verify the Jacob, when it fruits.”

(and, for all those interested in Gloucestershire’s Plum varieties, why not buy a copy of Charles Martell’s 2018 book about them? The paperback edition of Native Plums of Gloucestershire is available to buy on our Bookshop page here)

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GOT in the news #3: Martin and Tim on Youtube

This is a video filmed in GOT’s orchards at Longney:  This is the summary from the CPRE page:

An interview with Tim Andrews, County Director of CPRE Gloucestershire, and Martin Hayes. Martin is an expert orchardist and key member of the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust. The interview explores why orchards are special to Martin and Gloucestershire, and the work Martin does to reverse their decline. Around 75% of orchards have been lost in Gloucestershire in the last 50 years.

The interview was filmed in Longney, near Gloucester at an orchard owned by the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust. CPRE Gloucestershire is presently helping to restore around 10 acres of orchard at near Slimbridge in Gloucestershire.

Tim Andrews directed, filmed and edited the video – it was his first try at doing this.  And it is rather good, though Tim says ‘improvements are planned for next time’.

 

Rockness Orchard/Stan’s Patch Apple Day, 9th October

Apple Day at our Rockness Orchard  near Nailsworth, will be on Sunday 9th October in the afternoon. There is a wonderful amount of fruit.

The orchard has now been scythed and cleared. Particular summer profusion on the banks of betony, field scabious, St

Johns wort and wild marjoram. We also have newts in our little pond.

 

Great excitement, as where the huge ash was felled, plums have shot up bearing wonderful delicious fruit. What a gift.

If anyone can identify from a photograph, we would be thrilled.

Early fruit (in profusion) has gone to the Long Table in Stroud to be redistributed and shared.

 

More information from Fiona Valentine fionav@phonecoop.coop

Pilley Bridge Nature Reserve Apple Day, 16th October

Apple Day at Pilley Bridge Nature Reserve in Leckhampton, Cheltenham. Sunday 16th October 2022.

Timings at present are 2.30-4pm; they may alter slightly so visitors should check latest updates.

There will be children’s activities including apple games, scavenger hunt and creative art, our mini ‘railway rides’ and refreshments for sale.

We hope there will still be enough apples available after this summer’s weather challenges!

Details from Hazel Bolton, Group coordinator for PBNR hazelbolton@googlemail.com

Plum Tree Pruning Workshops at Longney Orchard on 9th, 17th and 30th May 2022

Martin Hayes is leading a series of informal pruning workshops at GOT’s lovely Longney Orchard (south of Gloucester by the River Severn).
These are for GOT members only. Cost is £10 per head.

Please book one session (booking essential) through Ann Smith ann@smithcovell.co.uk who can advise on payment methods.

(all fully booked now)

If you pay by PayPal please also email Ann with details of which session you’re booking.

Dates are

  • Monday 9 May 2022 at 12-3.30pm (large trees)
  • Tuesday 17 May 2022 at 9.30-1pm (young trees)
  • Monday 30 May 2022 at 12-3.30pm (young trees)

Once booked, Ann will send you further details including directions. Please note there is no vehicular access to the orchards from the road.

Martin will go through Health and Safety and we would need everyone to sign in with an emergency contact phone number please. Bring own tools, gloves, boots and refreshments.

Martin is very knowledgeable and there’s always something to learn and share. Stone fruit is only pruned between May and September to reduce the chance of silver leaf disease.

 

We look forward to seeing you! If you are not a member and would like to attend, please join GOT at https://glosorchards.org/home/join-us-got-membership/

If you are a community orchard group you get a year’s free membership. Please enquire via Ann.

Growing and Training Fruit in Small Spaces course, Thursday 18 August 2022

At Sue Gibson School of Gardening, May Cottage, Slimbridge.

Growing and Training Fruit in Small Spaces course on Thursday 18 August 2022.

Cost £75 including lunch (10% discount to GOT members).

Sue Gibson School of Gardening. https://www.iteachgardening.co.uk/

For details/to book email: info@iteachgardening.co.uk

Defra announcement about the new Farming Investment Fund

An interesting piece of kit apparently available via the fund!  It’s a Fruit Ripeness Spectrometer – “Handheld device for use in orchards to determine produce quality and harvest timing. Uses NIR (Near Infra-Red) to determine and measure DM (Dry Matter), total soluble solids, titratable acidity, and colour to determine ripeness”  Probably not designed for our mixed variety traditional orchards!

Defra has recently launched the new Farming Investment Fund.

Much of it looks beyond the scope of your average orchard grower, but there are some things like electric fencing that might be useful.

 

This is the wording from their announcement:

We are very pleased to let you know that Defra has launched today, Tuesday 16th November, the new Farming Investment Fund which will offer funding for equipment, technology, and infrastructure that improves farm productivity and benefits the environment.

This fund will provide grants to farmers, foresters and growers (including contractors to these sectors) helping them to focus on more efficient production methods that will reduce resource costs, improve yields, and give them a better return. It will also support farmers who want to process and add value to their existing products, create new products, or sell their produce directly to consumers. 

The Farming Investment Fund offers funding for both smaller investments - The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund and for larger investments – The Farming Transformation Fund. Today, we are opening applications for the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund and for grants focused on the Water Management theme of the Farming Transformation Fund, which is dedicated to arable and horticultural businesses growing, or intending to grow, irrigated food crops, ornamentals or forestry nurseries.  Additional grants and themes will be made available as part of this fund in the future.

Please read our blog post and our press release to find more information about the available grants. For more background information we have a key messages document (available here). 

The Funds will open to applicants on Tuesday 16 November. The application deadline for the Farming, Equipment and Technology Fund will be 12:00 noon on 7th January 2022. The online checker for the Farming Transformation Fund will run until 12th January 2022, with the full application deadline on the 30th June 2022. 

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