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Apple Blossom Day at King’s Lane Community Orchard

May 1, 2009
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In the summer of 2008, DWT bought a small remnant of an ancient orchard on King’s Lane at Powerstock. This year, on 24th April, it was officially opened as a newly restored community orchard, with local villagers and children from nearby Powerstock Primary School coming along to celebrate and welcome in the spring. Read on to find out more about the day.

Apple Blossom Time!

Apple Blossom Time!

King’s Lane is a remnant of the many cider orchards that surrounded Powerstock until the early 20th century. The cider industry supported many local people and if you look at a 1902 edition of an OS map, the importance of the cider orchards is clearly visible. Sadly, there are now only remnants of these ancient orchards. 

Orchard Blossom

Orchard Blossom

Old orchards are not only important for preserving some of our traditional, local apple varieties but are also extremely important for wildlife. Subsequently, they have recently been designated as a Priority Habitat in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. DWT have also received a small grant from Natural England and The National Trust as part of the UK Habitat Action Plan for Traditional Orchards which will help towards the correct management of the site and pay for a full professional survey of the wildlife, especially all the invertebrates.

Information Board

Information Board

A notable orchard loving species is the rare Noble Chafer beetle. This beetle is stunning, with a beautifully iridescent green coat which can flash copper, gold and even violet when the light strikes it. Its larvae live inside old decaying fruit trees in traditional orchards where they take two years to develop into adults.  Studies by entomologists have noticed a link between the two current main occurrences for the beetle (Kent and Worcestershire) and the fact that one hundred years ago, these areas were abundant with cherry, plum and apple orchards. Many of the old trees still remain in these areas and with this in mind, there is a good chance that the Noble Chafer may too be found at Powerstock – if you look closely on a hot summer’s day, you may see it flying between hogweed, meadow sweet and elder. Let us know!

Noble Chafer

Noble Chafer

The 24th April however saw the official opening of the orchard, linking in with the Powerstock Cider Festival later that evening. The event was opened by the children of Powerstock Primary School, who sang two songs especially written by Tim Laycock to celebrate the spring and apple blossom. The event was filmed by the BBC, who are following the development of the orchard as a feature for “Homes Under the Hammer”!

"sing the spring.."

"sing the spring.."

BBC TV Crew

BBC TV Crew

The songs were followed by afternoon tea and the children took part in some fun, wildlife related activities, the most popular of which was the Minibeast Hunt. The pupils found a wonderful variety of species in the orchard including both male and female orange tip butterflies, a huge oil beetle, and, to my horror, many, many spiders. 🙂

Searching for bugs...

Searching for bugs...

...and identifying them!

...and identifying them!

DWT intend to set up a Friends of the Orchard group of local people and the hope is to develop Apple Blossom Day as a regular annual family event to encourage the locals to see the orchard as a Community Open Space. It is also hoped that Powerstock Primary School will use the orchard as an outdoor classroom and help them to extend their curriculum in many areas such as Maths, Art, Creative Writing as well as environmental work.

King's Lane Community Orchard

King's Lane Community Orchard

Jessica Thornton 1/5/09

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Steve D permalink
    May 7, 2009 3:41 pm

    Brilliant blog Jess! I really must get over to have a look for myself. Sounds like a great orchard, with an obvious community spirit.

  2. July 5, 2009 3:39 pm

    Nice blog Jess. Really great project. Was your Natural England money through Higher Level Stewardship or something else? Could come in handy for my project…

  3. lani permalink
    December 22, 2009 11:59 am

    hello I go to powerstock school and i was there i remember it it was fun
    i am in year 5

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