After months of planning, Clanfield Community Orchard is set to become a reality! The project will transform a half-acre plot into a thriving Orchard and provide a beautiful green space for the Clanfield Community to enjoy.
A Community Orchard is exactly what it sounds like – a collection of fruit trees cared for and shared by the local community. We have been lucky enough to secure a 30-year lease on a wonderful site next to the Old Foundry. It will be accessible from the Upper Green on Main Street by a wooden pedestrian footbridge, which is already under construction.
The Orchard will be home to a range of heritage fruit trees including apple, pear, plum, greengage, damson, medlar and quince. The selection of fruit trees has been carefully curated to include both local Oxfordshire and national heritage varieties with a focus on preserving and celebrating many old forgotten but tasty varieties. Initially, we will be planting around 40 fruit trees in Autumn/Winter 2023/24.
The Woodland Trust are kindly providing blackthorn, elderberry, hazelnut, wild cherry and crab apple plants to create a wild harvest hedge. This will support wildlife as well as provide a hedge for foraging. The plot is beautiful in its own right but we plan to plant a wildflower nectar patch to increase the variety of wildflowers to attract bees, butterflies, moths and insects, important for pollinating the fruit trees and encouraging biodiversity.
When the Orchard is established, we are looking forward to hosting an annual village Wassail, Blossom Picnic and Apple Day. We hope there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
The site has very kindly been offered by the landowner, Charles Willmer and it’s his wish the Orchard be created and dedicated in memory of his late aunt, Ruth Fowler. Ruth used to own Linton Field and lived all her life in Clanfield.
Definitely! Whether you have half an hour or a few hours to offer, you can help put the Community into Community Orchard. We are looking for volunteers to help create and maintain the Orchard and generally make it a place which benefits our village. We are also looking for volunteers with skills in social media, updating websites, finance, graphic design and helping to organise fundraising events. Please do get in touch if you think you have skills which would help make our Community Orchard a wonderful space for the whole community.
We have already been lucky enough to receive funding and support from a number of sources. The Parish Council are supporting the project by granting access from the Upper Green. We are delighted to have been awarded a grant from the Trust for Oxfordshire's Environment (TOE) with funding from Grundon Waste Management Ltd through the Landfill Communities Fund. This has enabled us to start the preparation of the Orchard site. Installing a wooden footbridge to access the site, constructing perimeter fencing and installing rainwater harvesting equipment is all work in progress.
Over forty Clanfield residents have already kindly sponsored Trees and over the coming months we will be holding fund raising events and looking for donors to help with some of the of the other set up costs.
You can find out more about the plans for the Orchard, how to get involved and sign up for newsletters by visiting the website.
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Clanfield Community Orchard is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation registered with the Charity Commission. The Charity was created in March 2023 with the main aim of creating a Community Orchard in Clanfield.