Sulhamstead RG7 4DX
By Haddenham Webteam - 22nd October 2017 5:00pm
On Saturday 21st October, a large group of Haddenham residents braved the gathering winds of 'Storm Brian' to mark the official opening of the Townsend Community Orchard.
The project was initiated in 2014, when a portion of the Farrar Bell field was given to the Parish Council by Rectory Homes, following a planning refusal for additional home building. A consensus among the villagers came down in favour of the area being used as a community orchard.
A committee was established in 2014 to oversee the development and planting of the orchard and provide a communication channel with the Environment committee of Haddenham Parish Council. Its main activities in the early days were to ensure that the Parish Council's formal procedural requirements were being met. Once these administrative challenges had been satisfactorily achieved, the first trees and bushes were planted in two periods during the autumn of 2015. This was completed with the help of volunteers, school children and staff members from Cosine.
The design was created by Andrew Howard of the Heritage Fruit Tree Company, with the cost being met by the local company Cosine — a generous gift for which the local community is very grateful.
The layout was based on old varieties of fruit ripening early-to-late over an extended period, so that the fruit can be enjoyed over several months of the year. In addition, the fruit trees planted in columns were designed to be self pollinating.
To encourage further the pollination by the local bee population, the committee elected to plant wild flowers as well as managing the existing meadow flowers and grasses. Thus, a natural environment has been both created and evolved.
The finishing touches to the orchard have been made in the last few months, including the installation of a welcome sign and orchard layout boards, together with the individual tree plaques. Log benches have also been added in the hope that village groups and schools will be able to use it for outdoor educational activities and meetings. The funding for these latter additions was provided by S106 funds — i.e., payments made into the community by developers as part of being granted planning permission to build new homes.
At the formal opening ceremony on Saturday, committee chairman David Greaves acknowledged all the hard work that had gone into creating the orchard and thanked a wide group of contributors. He extended a special note of thanks to Diana Wetherell, the resident "orchard inspector" (who kindly provides monthly reports on the state of the trees, paths, litter, dog fouling, etc.) and to Graham Taylor who has been extremely generous in his supply of materials and technical expertise.
The ribbon was cut by Lola, with moral support from her brother Otis (the grandchildren of Diana Wetherell), to reveal the new display board. Meanwhile, regular walkers of the orchard footpath Doug Harrison and his faithful friend Sheba looked on approvingly.
The full text of David Greaves' report can be read by clicking on the PDF link below the images on this page.
Click on any of the images to view enlarged versions.