Have you ever heard of Peasgood Nonesuch? Or Blakeney Red Perry?
Did you ever go apple scrumping when you were little? Did you know that we live in one of the best places in the world for growing them and there are enough apple and pear varieties for every day of the year for many, many years in this country despite only two or three being readily available? Traditional organically-managed orchards are rich, diverse and increasingly rare ecosystems and we would like to join like-minded people to create a unique growing space for the community, including local and heritage trees.
The site we are proposing is Cambourne Meadow, between Cambourne Place and the Boating Lake. This is part of the land managed for the people of Lydney by the Recreation Trust. It was given to the town by John Watts and Charles Bathurst, the 1st Viscount Bledisloe. We want to use part of the meadow, leaving areas for walkers with dogs and fencing off the remainder to protect trees and create restful places to sit.
We would like to involve local children in creating beautiful features such as a Peace Garden, to reflect the historic value of the land, in particular, the work of Charles Bathurst as an MP during World War One, when he was second in command of the Ministry of Food and helped our nation survive. He went on to promote home grown food in World War Two, with the help of Britain's Women's Institutes. We believe that he would have loved the idea of the land being used not only for 'healthful recreation' but also as a source of free fresh food for the people of Lydney, to teach children and as a place to celebrate our cultural heritage through the works of Gloucestershire poets who wrote longingly of familiar places whilst fighting for our 'national survival' far from home.
'Support the Orchard' poster
Apples of Gloucestershire (apple varieties sourced from the Apple Source Book, by Common Ground)
Gloucestershire Poets of the First World War
'Moonlit Apples' by John Drinkwater (Dymock Poets)Extract from 'After Apple Picking' by Robert Frost (Dymock Poets)
'The Oldest Inhabitant Hears Far-Off the Drums of Death' by 'The Gloucestershire Laureate' and 'Forest Poet' FW Harvey DCM
'Water Colours' by Ivor Gurney
Dymock Poets Society
Ivor Gurney Society
FW Harvey Society
Rupert Brooke Society (Rupert Brooke was one of the Dymock Poets)
Thanks to the following...
Gloucestershire County Archives
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust
The Barnwood Trust
Forest of Dean District Council Community Engagement Team
....and to the Trustees of Lydney Recreation Trust who have come forward to offer their encouragement and support.
Research on community growing projects
True value - Federation of city farms and community gardens
Summary of findings:
The role of community gardens in sustaining healthy communities - Designing healthy communities
"Community gardens around the world have been credited with an array of beneficial outcomes for participants...."
Social and therapeutic gardening
Green Fingers Project
NHS research base
Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
Our plan for Lydney Community Orchard
Download a copy of the plan (submitted to Lydney Town Council and Lydney Recreation Trust in March 2014)
Download research from material held at Gloucester County Archives by Rachel Reeves; The Birth of Modern Agriculture and the Bathurst Family
Download the Community Orchard How-To Guide by Communities and Local Government
Comments so far...
"Fab idea - would be a real community venture where all the family can get involved."
"What a lovely idea, if Lydney Dial-a-Ride can help in anyway, just give us a shout :-)"
"Brilliant plan - good luck with all the hurdles but I'm sure you'll bring lots of people along with you."
"Rachel, first impressions - this looks absolutely brilliant. Anything that puts the community back into the community is to be commended."
"An inspirational project which I fully support and hope the necessary permissions are given. Please keep me informed. Might be able to contribute financially and voluntarily in a small way!"
"A good idea to provide a community focus."
"A great project that has something for all ages."
Please keep comments coming, whatever your views. We are particularly keen to hear from householders closest to Cambourne Meadow and would like to arrange to come and chat about the plans.