The Community Orchard began with the generous offer from Kineton Sports and Social Club to provide, without rent, an area of unused land on their site to Getting Kineton Growing.
A small group came together in 2011 to explore and develop the possibilities, also enthused by the larger, award-funded project being developed in parallel by our neighbours in WOT2Grow (the Whacote, Oxhill and Tysoe community orchard) Like them we decided to develop a mixed orchard, not just of apple trees but a wider variety of fruit and nut trees but with a particular emphasis on local 'heritage' varieties. Without any initial financial resource we were lucky to have the help of Des Wells to help clear an initial site at a far, partially sheltered end of the playing fields and with individual or family sponsorship of for each of the initial projected twenty trees.
We would also like to acknowledge the financial support of Seddons Construction Ltd. Site design was developed by Di Napier with the help of Ben Pipe of Moreton Morrell College. Initial site work was also facilitated through the hard work of Moreton Morrell students working with Ben, and also Alan Scorer. After initial worries about the trees being famished for lack of water, the heavy rains of 2012 ironically ensured that nearly all the trees survived. Further planting in September 2012, and in January 2013 (again with the help of Ben and his crew) included a small avenue of perry pears. Now we have a retinue of some 40 trees, plus a growing boundary hedge which includes oaks grown from acorns, a wild service tree (chequers),wayfaring tree, guelder rose and rowan, plus apple trees besides. With the help of our wider support group and Kineton Wildlife Group (who have been involved in the community orchard project from an early stage) we have organised some regular management days.
The orchard will be developed organically and with a view to developing a rich bio-diverse meadow (lots of flowers for bees and butterflies) around the trees. As they grow and produce fruit we hope to provide produce direct to the schools - and so involve them in our work - as well as to local Market stallholders making chutneys, jams and the like.
We would like to especially thank Marcus Roberts of mid-Shires Orchard Group for his advice on development of the orchard, for many of the local varieties and for the some 30 recent small grafted apple trees donated, in part, to built up the hedge. Other trees have also come from specialist fruit tree growers including F.P Matthews, Keeper's Nursery, Ashridge Nurseries, as well more locally from Hintons' Nursery and Charlecote Plant and Flowers Ltd
The trees and their sponsors
Jenny and David Preston, Alison Everard, Gordon and Audrey Archer, Hazel Freeman, Margaret Ashmore, John Adams, Tom and Bev Rigby, Rachel Rowle, Myles Bremner, Bryony Vigers, Di and Richard Napier, Mark Levene, Chris Mills, Penny Vigers, Jane Birditt, Boo Lewis, Alex and Nick Gunn, Mrs J Bromet, Simon Redmile, Jenny and William Kent, and Seddon Construction.
Mid-Shires Orchard Group, http://msog.btck.couk/