30 Jan 2013

Guest blog; Andy Read on the Ebley Linear Orchard

I just heard from Andy that a few people from my blog took part last time in the restoration of the linear orchard; folk from the Randwick wood fuel groups are already taking part and it's all tied in with the apple town - plus the apple pruning workshops....so anyone interested in this? Andy's asked me to publicise but far better is to copy his blog entry below from his blog.

Help needed to restore Ebley Linear Community Orchard

The Ebley Linear Community Orchard celebrated its 18th birthday on National Apple Day 2012. It was the first in Britain to be planted alongside a new cycle trail. 

Seventy apple and pear trees were installed by Gloucestershire County Council along half a mile of the track which runs alongside the A419 Ebley-bypass between Stonehouse and Dudbridge. Many are rare Gloucestershire species with names such a Ashmeads Kernel, Gilliflower of Gloucester and Chaxhill Red.

However in recent years the county council has not had the funds to maintain the orchard. Many of the trees have now become over-crowded and are in desperate need of pruning to ensure their healthy survival.

After many years of complaints from local people about the state of the orchard, a local charity for which I work, has secured funds through The Big Lottery to restore the site.

the Stroud Community Land Trust will be carrying out the project next month as part of Stroud's bid to become Britain's first Apple Town.

We surveyed of the orchard last week and identified 55 of the apple and pear trees which can be saved. The charity is now seeking volunteers to help secure the linear orchard's future. 

There are two ways you can help:
Tree and scrub clearance.
Sunday 17th and Sunday 24th February. 10am-4pm.
We need to create a clear area around each of the 55 apple and fruit trees. We will clear several areas of scrub and hundreds of saplings, over-hanging branches and bushes. Please bring strong boots and work gloves and wear old clothes. Some tools can be provided but it'd be great if you can bring your own secateurs, loppers or bow saws. Bring a picnic lunch. Meet on the Stonehouse-Dudbridge cycle trail where it passes close to Ebley Mill. Turn up on the day but if you can let us know you will be coming that'd be great. Andy Read 01453 756955 or redread23@tiscali.co.uk.
Apple Tree Pruning Workshops
Wednesday or Thursday 27th / 28th February from 10am-4pm.
To complete the restoration work we are offering two apple pruning workshops with experts Dave Kaspar and Helen Brent-Smith from Day’s Cottage at Brookthorpe. In the morning you will learn the principles of pruning applied specifically to these trees and in the afternoon you can put your new skills into practice. There are only 12 places each day. To book your place call Andy Read 01453 756955 or redread23@tiscali.co.uk.  Cost just £5 (normally £30)

More detailed pruning courses are also available at Days Cottage see www.dayscottage.co.uk for details. All pictures courtesy Days Cottage.

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