Welcome to our Spring 2017 Newsletter
This issue has details of our recent tree plantings, and exciting news of the Steyning Downland Scheme/SCO Children’s Orchard.
Memorial Playing Field. Community Orchard report
Our headline photo shows the tree donors and families on our first tree planting session on the Community Orchard in February. We planted 4 trees : two Pears (Beth and Concorde), a Plum (Warwickshire Drooper and an Apple (Michaelmas Red).
Then the following week two more tree donors planted 2 more Apples (Margil and Herefordshire Russet). We have now planted 22 new trees here. 14 Apples, 3 Plums, 4 Pears and a Quince, all of which have been donated and planted by local people and their families.
We were very pleased to see all the Spring bulbs and flowers we have planted flowering for the first time. Snowdrops and Crocus were followed by Primroses and Wild Daffodils. These are planted in the unmown grassy areas to each side of the Community Orchard.
We were especially pleased to see the Wild Daffodils (also known as Lent Lillies) flowering, These were donated and planted by Debbie Wood and her family last Autumn in memory of their sister Sheila Davis. They are said to be slow to establish, but over 100 were in full flower in their first year in late March. Hopefully they will continue to thrive and spread in years to come. Wild Daffodils are our native Daffodil, and are now quite rare, being restricted mainly to ancient woodlands, So it is great that we were able to introduce some to our Orchard ‘wild’ area.
Steyning Downland Scheme & SCO Children’s Orchard and Wild Play Area.
The Steyning Community Orchard in partnership with the Steyning Downland Scheme has begun planting fruit trees in an area near the Big Picnic Field on the Rifle Range, to create an Orchard which will be both fenced to keep dogs out, and provide a children’s wild play area.
All the trees will be on semi-dwarfing rootstocks, so that the fruit will be within easy picking reach for children.
On a sunny day in early March, members of the Steyning Downland Scheme and the Steyning Community Orchard gathered to plant the first three trees in the new Orchard. Each will produce fruit of a different taste, colour and ripening season. Greensleeves is a sweet, golden yellow apple which is picked in September. Idared is a crisp, sweet red apple picked in early October whilst Cheerfull Gold is ready in late October, and has an intense sweet/sharp Cox-like flavour and is a bright red colour.
Each tree has the same cage protection as the trees on the MPF Community Orchard. In this location, the main threat to these young trees is from rabbits and deer. So the trees need protection from both.
More plantings are planned over the next few years, together with the development of the Wild Play area.
Many thanks to the Wiston estate, and Richard Goring in particular, for enthusiatically allowing us to plant fruit trees on their land – and to help us plant the first trees !
“Orchard Sessions” for young people.
This summer we would like to see more young people enjoying, sharing, and learning about our orchard project. We are aiming at everyone from pre-school age to teenagers. We are offering ‘orchard sessions’ to local schools, pre-schools, and youth groups, inviting them to bring their young people along to the Memorial Field orchard to join us for a range of fun activities including craft work, games and storytelling. We want the groups to learn a little bit about the history of the orchard, to find out about the trees we have planted and understand why the orchard is important, in the hope that this will give them a sense that the orchard belongs as much to them as anyone else.
If you are interested in one of our orchard sessions for a group of children please contact us by email email@example.com and we will get in touch with you.
Primrose Court Old Orchard.
This is the Orchard in the garden of Primrose Court sheltered accommodation at the junction of Goring Rd and Clays Hill. Years ago this was an orchard of 50 or more trees, but over time most have disappeared. We have been working with the current Development Manager and some of the residents to re-establish an orchard here and have cleared large areas of the undergrowth and planted 12 new trees.
The latest of these were 4 more apple trees that we planted in February. The varieties were Alfriston, Sunset, Blenheim Orange and Worcester Pearmain.
Steyning Fruit Map.
We have asked you to let us know about your fruit trees so we can add them to our Orchard Map of Steyning. So far we have 45 different sites with 97 apple trees of 43 different varieties. There are also 13 pear trees and 14 plums and a range of other fruit and nut trees both private and in public spaces. These are shown on the map below with green pins for the public trees and red pins for private. Please be aware that the private locations are not exact.
So the map is coming along nicely but it would be great to see even more pins on our map so please get in contact with us via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have trees to register!
!! MISTLETOE !!
In the last Newsletter we asked if anyone had any Mistletoe in their garden. The owner of this this apple tree near Goring Road contacted us, and we found it still covered in berries in February. The owner kindly let us take some berries, and these have now been used to innoculate trees all over Steyning, including some more on the Community Orchard !
Mistletoe is a fascinating plant with countless myths, beliefs and customs surrounding it. We will investigate this more in a later Newsletter.
Welcome to our Winter 2016 Newsletter
This issue has brief reports of our recent events and activities, and previews our Wonderful Wassail and tree planting plans for this winter.
Steyning Community Orchard !!! WASSAIL !!!
Saturday 21st January 6.00pm
meet at Cricket Club
Wassailing is the very ancient custom of awakening orchards from their winter slumbers, and is having a bit of a revival, due in part to the increasing numbers of Community Orchards around the country.
Here in Sussex this event used to be known as ‘Apple Howling’, and took place between Christmas Day and Twelfth Night (Old Christmas Day). The word ‘wassail’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon phrase ‘waes hael’, which means ‘good health’. The wassail itself was a drink made of mulled ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and sugar. It was served from huge bowls, often made of silver or pewter.
Our Wassail (or Howling) will be led by Mythago Morris, a local Morris team who specialise in bringing to life old English stories by dance, music, verse and song. Their version of the Wassail involves lots of hectic dance, music and song.
After an initial introduction and dance from Mythago, we will process by torchlight, banging pots and pans and making lots of noise (to ward off any lurking evil spirits obviously!) to the Community Orchard where the oldest and most venerable apple tree will be encircled and adorned with cider soaked toast, and have its roots soaked in cider from the Wassail bowl. This offering will hopefully ensure a good crop from the Orchard the following season.
Mythago will then relate the rest of the Wassail story, and lead us in further songs and dance. Traditionally, gunsmen then shoot a great volley of shots through the branches to bring the event to a conclusion. (We will reluctantly have to omit this from our proceedings..!)
So with the Orchard rid of any evil spirits and the venerable tree having been ‘Wassailed’, we will leave the Orchard to recover, and make our way back across the field to the Cricket Club where you are invited to join us for hot soup, live music and bar.
We will ask for a contribution of £3 for adults and £1.50 for children at the door. If you are not staying for the social afterwards, there will collecting buckets for donations.
Be prepared for muddy conditions and wrap up warm. Bring torches and anything that makes a noise! Hope to see you there.
Memorial Playing Field.
Community Orchard report
This year has seen all 16 of the newly planted trees growing really well. Many of them had blossom for the first time earlier in the year. Most of this was removed as the trees were too small to carry a crop. But hopefully next year we will begin to get some fruit from these trees.
The Parish Council has given us the go-ahead to plant an additional 6 trees in the Orchard this winter, mostly in a newly cleared area at the top end of the Orchard by the Newham Lane entrance. These have all once again been sponsored by local people and will be planted in two sessions on Saturday 18th February, and Saturday 4th March starting at 10.30am. Everyone is very welcome to join us and the tree donors as they plant their trees.
Working Party. Friday 10th February 9.30am -11.30am
Prior to this, we do need to give the Orchard a tidy-up, so if you are free on Friday 10th February from 9.30am, please come and help us. Nothing too strenuous. Bring gloves, rakes and loppers if you have them.
Finally we can’t let this year pass without thanking everyone involved in this year’s Apple Day on Oct1st . The pouring rain in the morning while we were setting up didn’t dampen our spirits (too much). But the sight of 500 people all enjoying an afternoon in the Orchard surrounded by good company, food, drink and music cheered us all up. Julia and Malcolm and the Gruffalo made it extra special.
Steyning Community Orchard’s Apple Day is now a permanent fixture on the Steyning social calendar. Next year it will be held on Saturday 7th October.
Primrose Court Old Orchard
This is the Orchard in the garden of Primrose Court sheltered accommodation at the junction of Goring Rd and Clays Hill. Years ago this was an orchard of 50 or more trees, but over time most have disappeared. We have been working with the current Development Manager and some of the residents to re-establish an orchard here and have already cleared large areas of the undergrowth and planted 8 new trees.
In the New Year we are planting a further 4 apple trees here. All the trees are on standard rootstocks planted a good distance apart, so should grow into full size fruit trees in time. They are a mixture of eating and cooking apples, plums and pears.
Steyning Fruit Map
We have asked you to let us know about your fruit trees so we can add them to our Fruit Map of Steyning. So far we have 36 different sites with 39 different varieties of apple and a range of other fruit and nut trees both private and in public spaces. These are shown on the map below with green pins for the public trees and red pins for private. Please be aware that the private locations are not exact.
So the map is coming along nicely but it would be great to see even more pins on our map so please get in contact with us via Steyningorchard@gmail.com if you have trees to register!
ANY GOOD AT FIGURES?
Finally an urgent request. Our Treasurer and Steering Group member Mike Serby has recently moved down to the West Country. He has left our finances in good shape, but we do need someone to take on this role for us. If you can help us, please email us on email@example.com
Please take a look at our website www.steyningcommunityorchard.org. It includes details of all the new fruit trees we have planted in the Community Orchard on the Memorial Playing Field (MPF). It also has up-to-date news feeds from Facebook and Twitter, so you can follow us even if you don’t use these social media.
The next Newsletter will be published in March, when we will report on the latest tree plantings and also give updates on the 2 new Orchards we are hoping to be involved with.
Any comments, suggestions, feedback, please email us on :-
Welcome to our early Autumn Newsletter 2016
This issue mainly features our Apple Day celebration on Saturday October 1st starting at Midday. This promises to be even better than last year, so please come along and support us.
We need lots of home made produce to sell on the refreshments/produce stall. So if you have any spare apple chutney, plum jam etc please bring it along. Or if your skills are in the baking line, we’d love an apple pie or tart to slice and sell with our teas and coffees.
We also report on how the MPF Community Orchard is progressing, and give details of a special bulb planting event on October 15th.
Sat Oct 1st, Noon to 4pm
Steyning Community Orchard.
Saturday 1st October. 12 Noon – 4pm. Memorial Playing Field. ! FREE !
Our 3rd Annual Family Fun day with apples at its core!
If you enjoyed the Steyning Festival ‘Big Top’ atmosphere, you will love our Apple Day too. Do come along and join in the fun. Something for everyone.
o Live music all day
o Loads of activities for the kids, including a professional Face Painter.
o Julia Donaldson will join us for story telling/songs/book signing.
o Watch and help with Apple Juicing. (always fascinating and messy !)
o Lots to eat and drink
Full list of activities
o Refreshments. Including tea, coffee, hot chocolate, apple juice, appley treats, cakes, and a home made produce stall with jams and preserves.
o Bar with cider and real ale, run by our local Riverside Brewery
o Live music throughout the afternoon from 3 local groups
o Apple Juicing. We will have 2 Apple Presses in operation, so bring along your own apples, and for a small fee we will press and bottle the juice for you to take home. Or just buy some of our own freshly pressed juice.
o Apple tasting. An amazing display of over 30 different apple varieties for you to try.
o Apple sales. Buy bags of locally grown eating and cooking apples
o Childrens’ games, activities, quizzes for all ages. *Face Painting, Apple bobbing, Longest apple peel, Colouring, Pin the Maggot on the Apple, Hunt the apple quiz etc, etc. (*there will be a £2 or £4 charge for face painting, depending on your chosen design)
o Julia and Malcolm Donaldson will be holding a story and song session during the afternoon (our very own Gruffalo author living here in Steyning!) . Julia will also be doing a book signing session afterwards. *(see below for full details)
o Information about the Steyning Community Orchard and our current projects. Advice about fruit tree growing.
o ‘Steyning’s Fruit Trees’ survey. Tell us about the trees you have in your garden for our survey.
o Tree planting ceremony. This will be the 10th Sussex Heritage apple we will have planted on the MPF. This one is called ‘Alfriston’ and will be planted by Anne Hill in memory of her husband and mother.
o Art prints and cards with appley themes for sale.
o Young Fruit trees for sale to plant in your own garden.
* Important details of Julia Donaldson’s session.
– We are delighted that Julia and Malcolm Donaldson have agreed to support our Apple Day with a performance of songs and story telling.
– The session will be from 2.15 – 2.45pm
– Afterwards Julia will be signing copies of her new “Treasury of Songs” Book and CD, with the assistance of the Steyning Bookshop.
– She has also agreed that children can bring up to 2 copies of their own Julia Donaldson books for signing.
– There will be no charge for the story session, or the signings, but Julia has agreed we can collect donations for the Community Orchard at the signing session..
– We have a Deep Dark Wood next to the Orchard, so keep your eyes peeled for you-know-who, who has promised to join us !
Memorial Playing Field.
Community Orchard report
This Summer has seen all 15 of the newly planted trees growing really well. Many of them had blossom for the first time earlier in the year. Most of this was removed as the trees are too small to carry a large crop. But just a few were left, and three of the new trees have just one apple on each. We are hoping that these will stay on the trees long enough for us to include them in the apple display on Apple Day.
The cages and wire surrounding the new trees have been doing their job. Being in a public space with games and other activities taking place around them, there has inevitably been a little bit of damage from time to time, but nothing that couldn’t be repaired quickly. Trees are survivors, and even the odd snapped branch is quickly regrown
We have completed the clearing of the ash and sycamore saplings that were growing in the orchard area near the allotments/Newham Lane entrance to the MPF .Thanks are due to Simon Zec who gave his time, and Storrington Lightweight Tool Hire who loaned, delivered and collected the stump grinder to us for free!
This has opened up more space, and the Parish Council has given us the go-ahead to replant this area with additional fruit trees. These are now on order at the Nursery and are all once again sponsored by local people. We will be planting these in February/March 2017. More about this in our December Newsletter.
Bulb planting on the MPF Community Orchard
Saturday 15th October 2016. 10.30 – 11.30
We have 500 wild daffodil bulbs to plant.
We recently received an unexpected and generous donation from Debbie Wood and family in memory of Sheila Davis who died recently.
Debbie wrote “My sister Sheila was 53 years of age when she died. She had lived in Sussex for 20 years. She spent much time at the MPF watching cricket (her husband, Malcolm, played for Steyning some years ago and my son played throughout his childhood). She and I spent many hours with my children in the play area on the MPF. Our background as children of a farmer always gave her an affinity with nature and it seemed fitting to give a donation to a Community Group looking to encourage people to get out and about in nature. The Community Orchard seemed a perfect choice”
We are using part of their donation to buy and plant 500 Wild Daffodil bulbs in the rough grass at the side of the Orchard. These Wild Daffodils (or Lent Lillies) are now quite rare and are thought to have inspired William Wordsworth’s Lakeland poem, in which he described the “host of golden daffodils” he saw growing on the banks of Ullswater. They only grow to a height of 30cms, and are mainly found in damp woodlands and meadows. Hopefully they will establish and become a lovely sight each Spring, alongside the maturing fruit trees.
We will be planting these bulbs on Saturday 15th October at 10.30am, with the family. Do come and join us to help plant these bulbs..
Primrose Court Old Orchard
In addition to the 8 trees already planted, we are planning to plant a further 4 trees this coming winter. More about this in the next newsletter.
Steyning Community Orchard. April 2016 Newsletter..
MPF Community Orchard
We planted seven trees on two planting days in late Feb/early March. All were donated by local people, most in memory of a loved one. We have now planted 15 new trees in the Orchard since we started in early 2014.With Parish Council approval, we have cleared some more ash and sycamore saplings that were growing in the orchard area. This has opened up more space, and so we are now in discussion with the Council about what additional fruit trees we might plant here.
We have planted some native bluebells in the shaded areas around the cherry plums. We also hope to plant some more native snowdrops when they are available. Both bluebells and snowdrops establish much better if they are planted ‘in the green’, ie whilst they are growing, either before or after flowering. They may take a while to establish – but we’re not in a hurry!
We paid for the huge pile of prunings and brash from our clearings to be chipped on site. We use these chippings as a mulch around our new trees. (We have not received, or asked for, any financial support from the Parish Council. Due to generous tree donors and our own fund raising activities, we are completely self-financing)
Primrose Court Old Orchard
Eight new trees have been planted in the old orchard area of Primrose Court. (The sheltered housing development at the corner of Goring Rd and Clays Hill).
These were chosen by the residents: Four apples: Egremont Russet, Flower of Kent (Isaac Newton apple), Court Pendu Plat and Duck’s Bill (an old Sussex variety from Petworth House gardens). Two pears: Conference and Onward, and two plums: Czar and Denniston’s Superb.
Steyning Downland Scheme Children’s area Orchard
Gradual progress is being made on this project. The area has now been defined, allowing room for the Dexter cattle to be moved in and out of their grazing areas. So we can now start on the planning for the space.
Community Fun and Sports Day
Bank Holiday Monday 30th May. 11am-4pm, Memorial Playing Field.
(A Steyning Festival event)
We have been asked by the organisers to take part in this event on the MPF, which we are delighted to do. We will be based around the Community Orchard with games and activities for everyone.
Saturday 1st October. More details on this in our next Newsletter.
The next Newsletter is due in June. If there us anything you want to know about us, or have suggestions for what we might include in future, do let us know. firstname.lastname@example.org
Steyning Community Orchard. January 2016 Newsletter..
Hello everyone, and a Very Happy New Year to you all.
The Steyning Community Orchard continues to thrive and develop, and we have lots to tell you about.
- It’s Wassail time again ! Saturday 23rd Jan. 6.30pm, Steyning Cricket club.
As last year, Mythago Morris Side will be leading us in our celebrations. Wassail is the ancient custom of people gathering in Orchards in midwinter to bless, drink and sing for good crops the following year, leaving cider-soaked bread in the branches to ward off evil spirits.
The Wassail will start outside the Cricket Club at 6:30pm, before setting off for the Community Orchard. Afterwards, you are very welcome to join us for drinks in the Cricket Club where we will have some live music to entertain us.
No tickets required this year, (sorry, we gave incorrect information about tickets in the Your Steyning article) but we will ask for a donation of £2 per adult to cover our costs. Don’t forget those whistles, rattles, saucepans etc to make some noise! (Please note that numbers in the Cricket Club are limited and be prepared to remove muddy shoes before entering the Club.)
- Fruit Tree Pruning course
We are once again running a pruning workshop in an orchard off Annington Road on Sunday 7th February from 10am – 12 noon at £5 per person. Participants will require gloves, suitable footwear and secateurs/ loppers if you have them. Access to the orchard is from Annington Road just before the Annington Commercial Centre. It will be signposted on the day.
To book a place please contact Sue via email: email@example.com (or phone me on the number at the foot of this email and I’ll pass your name on)
- Memorial Playing Field Community Orchard
Ground conditions on the MPF are very poor due to the weather and heavy use the field gets. This forced us to cancel the working party we had planned for last week. We have permission to fell a small stand of ash/sycamore at the top end of the Orchard to allow more light into the area. This work will be rescheduled as soon as conditions allow. The actual Orchard area is in fact the driest part of the MPF, being on slightly higher ground, so our new little trees should be fine.
Everyone is welcome to join us on both Saturday 20th February and Saturday 5th March from 10.30am onwards when we will be planting 7 new trees, assisted by the local people who have sponsored them. We have 2 pears, 2 plums, a greengage, a quince and also another Sussex variety apple called Hawkridge to plant.
This will bring the numbers of trees planted here to 15 in the last 18 months. We then move to a consolidation/ maintenance/ management phase for this Orchard. It will of course continue to be the focus for our Community Events.
- Primrose Court , Old Orchard
We met with a group of 15 residents and the onsite Development Manager of Primrose Court in Goring Rd late last year. They are very enthusiastic about plans to rejuvenate their old Orchard, and have asked us to manage this project for them.
We believe the Orchard was originally planted in the 1940s by Dr Wheeler-Bennet who owned the house before the local well known doctor, Dr Dingeman bought it in 1955. Norman Dingeman (son of Dr Dingeman) has told us “….there were some 50 trees all of different varieties that ripened at different times and produced more apples than we could possibly eat, so in the autumn a wheel barrow full of apples was always left by the waiting room door for patients to help themselves.” Primrose Court was built on the site of the original house in the late 1980’s, with the large garden left mostly untouched. But unfortunately with lack of care and maintenance over the last 40 years, the Orchard became overgrown and has mostly disappeared with just 3 of the old apple trees remaining.
We were then delighted to be sucessful in obtaining a grant from the People’s Trust for Endangered Species Orchard Project to allow us to buy 8 new fruit trees for their Orchard. They chose apples, (Including 2 Sussex apples) pears, and plums to add to the 3 remaining apples in their orchard. These will be planted in February/March.
- Collaboration with the Steyning Downland Scheme
It is early days yet, but we are hoping to work with the Steyning Downland Scheme to establish an Orchard in the Rifle Range area. Lots more on this as plans develop.
- Steyning Showcase
Saturday 6th February.10am – 4pm Steyning Centre. We will be joining with 50 other voluntary groups based in Steyning to promote our Community Orchard. Do come along and say hello and hear about our progress and the exciting plans for 2016. Offers of help are always welcome!
- Steyning Festival’s Childrens Fun Day on the Memorial Playing Field 30thMay (Bank Holiday)
We have been asked by the organisers to take part in this event on the MPF, which we are delighted to do. A bit of a way off yet, but we will certainly be ready with some games and activities with a blossomy/appley theme.
- Steyning Community Orchard website
We are currently working to reestablish a website for our activities. Meanwhile, please use our Facebook site for updates/news etc.
Apple Day 2016 will be on Saturday 1st October. We have a lot to live up to after last year’s sucessful event. We won’t change a lot as everyone seems to enjoy the current format, just a few tweaks here and there..
If you are a FaceBook user, please ‘like’ us if you’ve not yet done so. (The number of Facebook ‘likes’ is one measure of ‘community engagement’ that we use to show the level of support we have when applying for grants etc)
Steyning Community Orchard November 2015 Update
As many of you will know (as over 400 of you were there!) we held our Apple Day Celebrations on Saturday 3rd October at the Steyning Community Orchard on the Memorial Playing Field.
After our first Apple Day last year, we didn’t quite know what to expect. But we needn’t have worried, Steyning residents and families came out in force to enjoy an afternoon of great company, music, games, and appley related activities. Even the weather played its part, with the sun emerging from the mist just as we started.
The two apple presses were working flat out all afternoon, producing well over 100 litres of apple juice, and a huge pile of pressed apple, which is now being composted on the adjacent allotments.
Refreshments, including an impressive array of cakes and appley treats, together with apple juice and apple tree sales, raised over £400 for Orchard funds.
The new cherry and oak Noticeboard had its official unveiling by David Barling, and an apple tree was planted in memory of Marlene Carman, assisted by three of her family members.
An early date for your 2016 diaries. After last year’s inaugural event, we will be holding another Wassail on Saturday 23rd January led again by the Mythago Morris Side. More on that in next month’s Your Steyning.
See our Facebook page for updates on our events and all our current news.
Steyning Community Orchard September 2015 Update
This is an exciting time for the Steyning Community Orchard. We have our next tree planting on Saturday 19th September in the Memorial Playing Field when we will be adding three new apple trees. Then we will be preparing for our second Apple Day Celebration on Saturday 3rd October, also in the Memorial Playing Field.
Generous donations by Valerie Cable, Joyce Sleight and Jan Whittle, all in memory of family members, have enabled us to purchase three trees, together with posts and fencing. These are old Sussex varieties to add to the four already planted. (More on these in a future YS article) The planting will take place at 11.00am on Saturday 19th September. Everyone is invited, so do please come and join us. Refreshments will be provided.
Then our major event of the year; our 2nd Apple Day Celebration on Saturday 3rd October, 1:00pm to 4:00pm at the Steyning Community Orchard on the Memorial Playing Field.
There will be apple displays, apple tastings and live music. See the future plans for the orchard, or even buy an apple tree to plant in your own garden. There will be children’s games and activities, and refreshments including mouth-watering home-made apple treats. Bring along your own apples and a container and for a modest fee, we will press them for you. Or buy some freshly pressed juice. You will also be able to buy home-made produce, including jams and preserves.
Also on Apple Day we will be planting a tree in memory of Marlene Carmen, a prominent contributor to the Steyning community. This will bring the total of newly planted trees in the orchard to eight. We also hope to unveil a new Notice Board which will enable us to provide on-the-spot information to local people about the orchard.
Over 200 people came to Apple Day last year and had a great time. Music, food, drink (sorry no cider yet!), good company, stunning location. And it’s free. Do come and join us!
See our Facebook page for updates on these events and all our current news.