Apple Day – A Sweet Success

The Conservation Group were delighted with the turnout and support for Apple Day on Sunday 15th October, which this year saw an extended range of activities aimed to broaden the appeal of our community orchard.  Having secured funding for new equipment including an apple crusher/press from the Community Foundation, this was our first opportunity to engage the community by taking part in making apple juice.

In the Orchard, the steady production of juice proved to be great fun, with lots of participants collecting, chopping, mashing, pressing and bottling!  Children especially loved turning the masher wheel and seeing the apple pieces drop into the bucket below, while those a little stronger could turn the press to extract the juice.  

We were also fortunate to have on hand local experts Tom and Peter from Wylam Community Orchard and Jon from the 69 Orchard, who shared their expertise in identification of varieties, tree husbandry and apple juice production.

In the autumn sunshine, families with younger children enjoyed interactive storytelling and apple art activities, while at the Village Hall, tree rents were paid and delicious homemade cakes devoured alongside refreshments.

The Conservation Group would sincerely like to thank everyone who contributed to make the event such a success, including the cake bakers, kitchen volunteers, tree rent takers, John and Tom who gave their time, expertise and loaned equipment, Malcolm the storyteller, Veronika for childrens’ art, Karen for the silk painting. Special mention to Steve ‘Scrumpy’ Hilton, who put in hours of preparation work behind the scenes, which included making the successful grant funding application for the apple press and new equipment.

Below is a gallery of photos taken from the event to enjoy, just click to enlarge:


Orchard News


Orchard Update

Annual Tree Allocation
After 16 years Granny Smith (Jenny) has finally handed over responsibility for overseeing the annual tree allocation to Scrumpy Steve (Hilton). Thanks to Jenny for all the hard work she has put in over that time, from the founding of the orchard at the Millennium until now.

Orchard Action Day – Saturday 9th October
A working party will be at the orchard to strim grass, cut hedges and generally tidy the orchard ahead of Apple Day. Everyone is welcome. The orchard only works by people working together, so please come down and help, even if you can only spare a short time. We start at 10.30am and there will be tea, coffee and cake aplenty.
(Note that we are not pruning any apple trees, pruning day will be in March next year.)

Apple Day – Sunday 16th October
This takes place in the village hall from 2-4.30pm. There will be an opportunity to pay rents, discuss orchard matters and of course sample apple related products with afternoon tea/coffee. Another great social occasion in the village calendar.

Orchard Tree Damage

The CVCG has recently been made aware of damage being done to apple trees in the Orchard.  This is usually in the form of chewed bark from ground level up to about 0.5 metres:

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Example tree damage in Clara Vale orchard

We believe this may be caused by Muntjac deer. There is not a lot that can be done to discourage them, except for protecting the trees from ground level up to about 2′ (0.6m). Some residents have used wire or plastic netting to protect their trees:

Why not pop down to the orchard soon and check your tree if you have one? The orchard is just coming into blossom and soon will be very photogenic. On a sunny day its a very nice and peaceful spot to have a picnic or just take some time out.

You can find out more about Muntjac deer by visiting the BBC Wildlife page here