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Clearing the new orchard site
20 November, 2021 @ 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
One event on 18 December, 2021 at 11:00 am
Quick info: Clearing shrubs, trees and brambles from the site. Wear suitable outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear. Bring gardening gloves if you have them. We provide tools, hot drinks, jacket potatoes for lunch and lots of healthy exercise in the fresh air. Meet in the courtyard by the farm buildings at Horsenden Farm.
An overgrown and unkempt area of woodland is set to be transformed into an orchard. Left to its own devices for years, this is the latest development in our plans to plant trees to combat climate change and regenerate areas of Horsenden Hill.
This new orchard is the woody area on the left as you enter the main gates to Horsenden Farm.
Our small but intrepid herd of two Shetland cows – Ilex and Bramble – have done lots of preparatory work for us, munching their way through leaves and branches. Now it’s time for human endeavour.
This initiative is a collaboration between the Friends of Horsenden Hill, Horsenden’s cows and pigs and ranger Jon Staples, London Borough of Ealing.
What’s the plan?
First we clear the site of brambles and roots and branches the cows left behind and we prepare for planting.
Our pigs will help dig over the soil before planting, adding their manure and we will spread wildflower seed and Meadow grass for Ilex and Bramble to graze.
Early in 2022 we plant the new trees, attend to the living hedges, install tree guards and stock fencing.
The site is flanked by living hedges of hawthorn and wild rose that provide habitat for small birds and many species of insects. The hedges will be enhanced with apple and mulberry trees.
We will plant up to 20 bare root apple trees, each of which will grow to between 4m and 7m after ten years. We have chosen some heritage varieties, selected their sweet juice and good cropping.
Some of these varieties have become rare in recent years as growers have concentrated on a smaller range. There have been orchards at Horsenden for hundreds of years and we want to protect that heritage.
The addition of a stock proof fence will make sure that the farm’s cows can’t just wander there when they feel like it.
This is the first of several orchard replacement plans. The sooner we exceed the target for this one we can get on with the next!