First Community Orchard at Churchend (Coneygree Orchard)
We now have our very first Orchard, on Parish land, just north of the Burial Ground opposite St. Michael’s Church, Eastington, Glos, alongside Springhill.
Both the Parish Council and the Church Council have backed plans for the orchard in land which will ultimately be used for burials – over the next 100 years. Rather than leave this land un-used, we shall have an area which is partly productive, partly contemplative and generally more attractive than if we left it to the cows.
Overall Plan and progress as at mid-2015
Initially we planted some donated soft fruit bushes, fulfilling a principle in the original proposal, that some soft planting be used, lest the land be needed for burials faster than anticipated!
– and in fact this has essentially happened and we have moved the blackcurrant bushes into the main cage – demolishing the strawberry bed (which was not a success).
We have now planted over 50 fruit trees and all the infrastructure is in place. We have opened the area to all the inhabitants of Eastington for quiet enjoyment.
The School have been given a corner of the orchard for nature studies and small projects – this has since been adopted by children of The Raffles Forest School, who are doing a great job of clearing the area and making a pond.
Grants have been forthcoming – thank you so much to all our kind sponsors – and we have earned money from our apple days to help further our plans for more trees, animal defences, the pathway, seating etc., and for sheds to safely store equipment.
We had planned to plant espalliers along the sides of the path, but find that we cannot adequately protect them from predators, so this plan is shelved for the moment.
Tim Potts has given us a magnificent archway to form the entrance to the orchard from Springhill, and Garry Dingle and his son and apprentice Tom have made some equally impressive gates to go with it. These are fully installed now.
Some really nice benches are also in place to realise the plans for contemplative areas within the orchard, and plans for ‘Kevin’s Mound’ are mounting…