Transition Town Honiton have been working with East Devon District Council to secure a small area of parkland for the last couple of years and in October of this year (2014) we successfully planted a new community orchard between Millers Way and Streamers Meadow.
We had almost 30 people turn up to help plant the 2 year old trees. Quinn Coombe aged 4 and from Honiton planted his first tree and is already asking when the apples will be ready! We hope to plant more trees and fruit bushes in the future, to raise enough funds to have a display board, detailed tree labels and a fence and to organise yearly events such as an apple day at the site.
Tom Nancarrow who coordinated the community orchard project with his partner Jess Huffman, chose all old English varieties, planting them alongside the river Gissage just behind Miller’s Way. The idea is that it offers people the chance to try something a bit different from your normal selection at the supermarket. The varieties were also chosen to provide a long cropping period, with the first apples ready in August and subsequent trees cropping right through until the new year. They are 2-year old trees so all being well they will start to produce apples in the next couple of years. There are over 2000 varieties of English apples alone, although it is increasingly hard to get hold of anything other than the four or five sold by the supermarkets.
Planting community orchards is a good way for people to reconnect with a rich English tradition of apple growing and an important part of our horticultural heritage. What’s more, the variety of taste and flavours on offer will speak for themselves!
The varieties planted in the new orchard are Grenadier, Worcester Pearmain, James Grieve, Lord Lambourne, Egremont Russet, Winston and three old Devon varieties Tom Putt, Devonshire Quarrenden and Fair Maid of Devon. Thanks to Adam’s Apples for the donation of two trees, to Coombe Estate for the supply of wood chip used to mulch the trees, and to everyone that came down and helped with the planting.
We are looking for local people and their families to get involved, we need help with the fundraising, planting, picking and future maintenance of the orchard.
We hope to grow fruit trees, bushes and wild flowers, set-up benches and a picnic area, hold courses and events here and create a beautiful space that we hope will attract bees, birds and families. For more information please email: info@transitiontownhoniton.