BBC feature on local orchards

The BBC news website featured traditional orchards last week, timed to coincide with Apple Day.

It highlighted the work being carried out to conserve orchards, and traditional varieties, locally and regionally in Somerset and Gloucestershire  The article also highlighted the work of PTES and the Orchard Network nationally.

For Gloucestershire both GOT and the Wildlife Trust were mentioned, discussing local sites and the work being done to find and conserve local varieties.

For the full article click here:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-63298873

Pictures from Days Cottage Apple Day

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The perry pear painting on the bench is by Chris Bingle, whose work can be seen at subtlecolours.com

Big Apple Harvestime 8th and 9th October 2022

Big Apple, the orchard association for the Much Marcle area, is holding its annual Harvestime weekend on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th October.

Nine venues are ready to welcome visitors to Much Marcle over the two days.

The venues have plenty to offer visitors. There will be opportunities to enjoy the local orchards, see, hear and smell cider and perry being made and taste and buy many different varieties of apples, local ciders, perries and apple juices.

Full details at https://www.bigapple.org.uk/harvestime2022/

Days Cottage Orchard & Rural Skills Centre Apple Afternoon 16th October

Dave Kaspar identifying apples. Small number of representative samples only please!

This year’s apple celebrations at Days Cottage will be on Sunday 16 October 2022, 1-4pm.

Apple Day Afternoon with Dave Kaspar and Helen Brent-Smith, www.dayscottage.co.uk Upton Lane, Brookthorpe, GL4 0UT.

Mulled apple juice, lovely apple and pear themed cakes, family event, music, heritage fruit to try and buy, rare trees for sale. Buy juice, cider and perry from unsprayed fruit. Now is a chance to chat to Dave and Helen about your orchard/fruit questions. But they do get busy!

Browse their mature and young orchards, bring a picnic. Walk around the Museum Orchard of rare Gloucestershire varieties. Maps available (please return). Signage will be out.

Bring a few representative samples for identification and a small amount (two carrier bags) for juicing at the farm.  Small charge for the latter.  Only a small number of representative samples please!

One way system in operation. Yurt and roundhouse. Forest garden to explore.

They also run a rolling programme of Pruning, Grafting and Bud-Grafting workshops here in  winter and summer. These will be advertised on the Days Cottage and GOT websites.

 

Dave Kaspar identifying apples at his and Helen’s Days Cottage Apple Afternoon in October.

Malvern Autumn Show 23-25th September

National Perry Pear Centre perry pear display at the Malvern Autumn Show by Jim Chapman from Hartpury Orchard Centre. Jim offers a unique perry pear identification service.

 

Jim Chapman will be at the Malvern Autumn Show as usual with his perry pear display.

 

Friday-Sunday 23-25 September 2022 at Three Counties Showground, Malvern.

 

Hartpury Orchard Centre Open afternoon, 17th September 2022

Open afternoon at Hartpury Orchard Centre (National Perry Pear Centre)

Saturday 17 September 2022 with perry pear display and refreshments.

There will be more details nearer the time on this website or the Hartpury website. 

The tap bar should be open all summer from noon on Sundays. But check before setting off.

The orchards, wetlands with bird-hide/nature reserve are open all year round.

GOT acquires Henley Bank Orchard

We are delighted to announce that we have now completed the acquisition of Henley Bank Orchard, at Brockworth.  It has been a long process transferring the ownership from the developers, but is now finalised!

The orchard, adjoining the new developments along Mill Lane Brockworth, is to be managed as a community orchard rather than public open space, and we will be working up plans for management and access soon.

The 2.5 acres (1 hectare) site, with many mature perry pears, is very overgrown at present so we are not encouraging visitors at all yet, but will be taking members there after our AGM in Brockworth on 14th May.

The pictures below were taken in March 2021.

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Blossom at Longney

Stuart Smith spotted this beautiful blossom in Bollow Orchard at Longney while preparing for the arrival of the red mason bee cocoons at the end of March.

 

This particular tree is a unique perry pear, meaning that its DNA fingerprint does not match any other perry pear in the National Collection at Hartpury.

 

Jim Chapman says this suggests that just the seedling rootstock remains and the grafted perry variety has died – but at least it makes a lovely show!

 

 

New Traditional Orchard at Wallsworth Hall- fruitful collaboration in action!

Wallsworth Hall, an imposing C18 house, just north of Gloucester at Twigworth, is home to one of the UK’s most important national charities promoting conservation through the medium of art – in all its many forms. Established in 1988, Nature in Art (N in A) is now a unique centre, with an expanding membership and visitor base.  It is dedicated, among other aims, to show how the visual and aesthetic qualities of art can help support ecology and encourage participation in realising common objectives.

The large garden area surrounding Wallsworth Hall provides space for many sculptures and a site for a busy Education Centre with outreach work with schools, art groups and visiting artists in residence. The garden is also very popular with visitors, with circular walks and picnic places, and it has an excellent range of wildlife. However, the far end of the garden had been left largely untouched and had become overgrown and inaccessible.  N in A’s Trustees decided to restore this area – of around a 1/4 acre – by establishing a small orchard of local varieties of apples to supplement some older fruit trees around the partially walled boundary.

Following enquiries from N in A’s staff, contact with the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust (GOT) was made which led to discussions on how plans for the new orchard could be made and put in train. GOT (and N in A) member Keith Turner agreed to collaborate with N in A Director Simon Trapnell and the Education Officer Catherine Bunn in drawing up practical plans. These included using N in A volunteers first, to clear, by hand, the area of its jungle of briars, nettles and invasive elder; and then to prepare the new area for planting up to 15 fruit trees, mainly apples. The emphasis would be on heritage varieties – a mixture of culinary, cider and dessert types, which would be sourced from GOT member Rob Watkins’ Lodge Farm Trees nursery near Berkeley.  A mix of native grass and wildflower seed will be broadcast under the trees to augment the existing flora and so form a natural sward under the trees for wildlife conservation, especially habitat for bees, butterflies and moths.

Sufficient ground was ready by autumn 2019 for the first trees to be planted, but continued wet conditions delayed planting until early 2020. These trees soon established and made good growth in 2020. Meanwhile, the remainder of the area was prepared for clearing and planting which took place the following winter.  Consisting of grafts on M25, MM106 and MM111 rootstocks, all were local Gloucestershire or regional Three Counties varieties/cultivars. Examples include Ashmeads Kernel, Longney Russet, Arlingham Schoolboy, Yellow Willy etc.  One perry pear has also been included in the mix for a special spot in the new orchard.

The plantings were completed in early 2021 with a total of 16 trees well established, but leaving a legacy of further work by N in A volunteers to maintain the new orchard over the next few years. There was, very likely, an earlier orchard at Wallsworth Hall which would have provided fruit for the house and its residents. So it’s very satisfying that the new trees will restore these links and again be part of the future history of this lovely house.

Keith Turner  6/1/22

More information on Nature in Art: Located at Twigworth off the A38, near Gloucester GL2 9PA.  https://natureinart.org.uk/

Fruit identification – what variety is that?

It’s that time of year again – when people start collecting, harvesting or simply noticing, fruit and quite often want to know variety of apple, pear etc they are picking or eating or looking at.

Is it unusual, rare, common? What is the best use of it – cider, perry, dessert, or cooking? And, if you have a lot, what are the keeping qualities?

There are many resources that can help – both within and outside GOT – and a few are listed below.

Firstly it’s worth noting that we are due to develop our ‘Varieties’ website at glosorchards.org/home/fruitvarieties soon – but unfortunately not in time for harvest this year.  However there are some archived resources from our old website available via that site – for a full index of those click here.

Secondly there are people who can help direct including:

  • Perry pears – contact Jim Chapman jjrchapman@btinternet.com (small charge)
  • Apples – the Marcher Apple Network www.marcherapple.net are experts – (proforma needed or visit at the shows they
    attend, including Malvern Autumn Show, Big Apple Harvest Time Weekend etc). (small charge)
  • Brogdale Horticultural Trust (by post, charge) http://www.brogdalecollections.org/
  • Apple Afternoon at Days Cottage – 8th October (details here) or bring small amounts to Stroud Farmers Markets
    on Saturdays to their stall

Or, thirdly, you could try DIY id online at Fruitid.com a national fruit self-identifying website with high quality photographs, more added continually and aiming to eventually have all tree fruits.

And, last but by no means least, you can look up local fruit varieties in GOT’s own publications, including

  • Pears of Gloucestershire and Perry Pears of the Three Counties, by Charles Martell (2013) and
  • Native Apples of Gloucestershire by Charles Martell (2014)

Both are available on our bookshop page here.