Here we come a Wassailing

In the olden days, rural folk and villagers across the apple-growing counties must have endured the short, cold days and long, cold nights of winter with gloom. What better way to drive that away than to create a ritual involving firelight, noise and cheery singing? And if there was cider involved so much the better. Wassailing, or giving thanks to the orchard, has a long and colourful history and we are happy to be part of its revival.

These days the wassail is less cider-centric, but even more fun. Our annual wassail will be led by Nigel Pennick and we will all follow, singing (or at least making a noise) as we go. Along the way we tie some toast dipped in apple juice in the branches of each tree. All this will protect the apple trees and encourage them to bear a bumper crop next year, so it’s essential arboriculture.

Turn up with a torch or a lantern, and enjoy some hot mulled apple juice. Wrap up warm and be prepared to sing. The event is free but donations to help the orchard and cover our costs are much appreciated. Children very welcome.

Please bear in mind there are no facilities on the orchard. Parking is on the adjacent streets – please park with consideration to our neighbours.

wassail 2015 22 A

 

 

 

Working off the Christmas calories

I love to have a relaxing Christmas, including sitting around watching terrible films, but there’s only so much of that I can enjoy before I begin to feel a bit like a Christmas pudding. If you get that feeling too come and join us on Monday 30 December 2019 for a Bramble Blitz and litter picking session. We will be starting at 10.30 am in the community orchard, and ending up with a free lunch of hearty soup and bread which will be served in the Clay Farm Community Garden building.
This event is supported with a grant from TKMaxx and Homesense.

Our orchard relies on voluteers, so we really do appreciate the efforts of everybody who turns up and helps out. In particular the Orchard team would like to say a big thank you to Anna who is volunteering for an hour every Tuesday between 8 am and 9 am. So far she has helped to rake up cuttings from the scythed meadow and dig out brambles and turns up whatever the weather with a willingness to help.

Be like Anna – Come along and see what you can do. You will leave feeling more warm and fuzzy than a Christmas jumper.

gloves

Trumpington Topsy

It’s official – Trumpington has its very own apple. The Trumpington Topsy apple variety was grown from a pip and is now a fruiting tree, within the chicken plots opposite the orchard. The tree and the apples were assessed by a panel of experts, and its DNA was compared to others in the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale. From all that, the experts said that the seedling was unique, not comparible to any other variety, and could have its own name. And so, we are proud to present – Trumpington Topsy.
Trumpington Topsy is a large, flat-round apple, mainly yellow with a red blush and red streaking. When picked straight from the tree it is good as a cooking apple, but it will sweeten up when stored and becomes a good dessert apple, although it does not keep too long. So far it is a good healthy tree, and we hope to take grafts from it so that we can bring on more trees in years to come.

Orchard Maintenance Dates

We hold a maintenance session every second Sunday of the month (11am – 1pm), and every fourth Thursday (10am – 12pm)

If you love our orchard, and want to help keep it special, please come along to one of our regular maintenance sessions.  We provide all the tools you need, and lots of help and advice, so if you’ve never done any gardening before, don’t worry. It’s a great way to spend some time in the outside and meet new people

.These sessions are when we look after the trees and check what needs to be done. For each season we will check the health of the trees, attend to any pests and diseases, and make the orchard look as beautiful as possible. It’s vital work to keep the orchard going and we rely on our volunteers to look after these trees, so we really appreciate the help. You don’t have to stay for the whole session, just come along when you can. Superivised children are welcome but please note we have no toilet/hand washing etc facilities on site or nearby. Please wear clothes suitable for outdoor work.

DATES FOR 2019:  Every second Sunday of the month (11am – 1pm), and every fourth Thursday (10am – 12pm)

Sunday 10 Feb
Thursday 28 Feb

Sunday 10 March
Thursday 28 March

Sunday 14 April
Thursday 25 April

Sunday 12 May
Thursday 23 May

Sunday 9 June
Thursday 27 June

Sunday 14 July
Thursday 25 July

Sunday 11 August
Thursday 22 August

Sunday 8 Sept
Thursday 26 Sept

Sunday 13 Oct
Thursday 24 Oct

Sunday 10 Nov
Thursday 28 Oct

Sunday 8 Dec
(Thursday 26 Dec – probably not going to happen!)

“Wassail wassail all over the town…”

Sunday 13th January 2019 2pm

“Wassail wassail all over the town…
So begins the traditional Wassail carol – celebrating Christmas, winter and the bountiful harvest to come. Our own orchard wassail is a bit of a tradition in its own right, having been going for a mighty ten years. This year we have story telling for everyone, a great way of setting the scene and leading us into the fun and mystery of singing to apple trees as darkness falls.

Come and see us. It’s free (although donations are much appreciated) and it’s suitable for all the family. Because we’ll be outside in an orchard, wear warm clothes, bring a torch. Dressing up is encouraged – it’s usually Holly Kings and Ivy Queens but we have had a 6ft tall penguin come along in the past, so anything goes!

Come and join us for our 10th Birthday

We are celebrating our 10th Birthday on Thursday 30th August 2018

All are welcome to come along and listen to a story or two about apples, orchards and the amazing creatures that live in them

Afternoon
Tea party for children and their carers, starting 2.30pm with cake and apple juice with storytelling starting at 3.30pm for about an hour. Our storyteller is Marion Leeper.

Evening

  1. Storytelling for grown ups will bring us all together at 6.30pm with Malcolm Busby with Marion Leeper joining in later. Bring a picnic and a blanket and settle in for a traditional, but contemporary experience.

More details will follow on, keep an eye on our Facebook event page too. 

A fruitful day in the orchard

On Saturday 9th June we hosted the AGM of the East of England Apples and Orchards Project.  This organisation grows all the varieties of apples and other orchard fruit that originated in the East of England, and does a lot of research into their origins and how to grow them. It’s open for anyone interested in fruit to join, and it is really worthwhile.
After the business part of the meeting, it was our turn to give a short presentation on how this little orchard came into being. We could hardly believe it was first thought of over ten years ago! We used lots of photos to jog out memories – some of the photos you can find by exploring the links and early posts on this site. It wwas good to have the comments from so many other expert growers and owners of community orchards.
Many of those present joined us for a tour of the orchard itself. As you can see from these picures, the wildflower meadow around the trees was the star of the show. Everyone admired the swift tower, and looked to see the swifts themselves. Hopefully swift towers will be a feature of more community orchards, and the EEAOP site itself, in the future.

Beavers in the orchard

Don’t worry about our trees, I don’t mean the toothy, dam building type of beaver. Our orchard visitors were the 1st Trumpington Beaver Scouts (aged 6 – 8) , who came to the Orchard a few weeks ago and made a splendid job of a litter pick.
Just last Sunday (13.5.18) the 1st Trumpington Cub Scouts (aged 8 – 11) joined our regular volunteering session and spent most of their time removing brambles – a very prickly task!
We are really grateful for the enthusiasm, effort and help from these young people and their Leaders. We cannot keep the orchard looking good without the work of volunteers, and we hope that in return they learned a little about the orchard and its plants and insect life.
We welcome other group visits, we’ve hosted the Brownies and local schools as well, so do get in touch if you’d like to play a part in your local orchard’s growth.

Spring cleaning

OK I admit Spring is rather late this year. But the Orchard survived the ‘Beast from the East’ snow, and here and there blossom is cautiously unfurling. This website needs a bit of a spring clean, not least because of new data protection regulations that are coming into force in May 2018. This means that every organisation, no matter how small, has to ask its supporters to actively ‘opt in’ to receive emails and other contacts. So look out from an email for us soon, and please do take the time to stay in touch because we can’t keep the Orchard going without your help and interest.

Our Monthly Maintenance Mornings (Second Sunday and last Thursday of the month) have been off to a good start and so far we are scything the grass and getting rid of any bramble seedlings that have poked up through the ground. All are welcome to come to these – have a look at our Events page for all the dates and see the sign on the Orchard gate.

Green Woodworking at the wassail

At this year’s Wassail we had a demonstration from The Wympole Green Woodworking group who used a pole lathe to make a variety of items. Many thanks to them for the fascinating demo and for being so weather resistant. We hope to collaborate with them again – let us know if you’d be interested in attending a demo or a course of some kind.