Monday, 13 April 2020

Easter 2020

We are indeed living in strange times. I hope you are all well and managing to enjoy the time available to try some different things. I feel slightly as if I am convalescent.....with time to spare and no great rush to do anything.....and I'm afraid those jobs I SHOULD be doing still elude me. 
However I am pleased to report that the Orchard is really looking lovely.....a haven of quiet with blossom and birdsong. The daffodils are pretty well over but the bluebells are delightful. The pears (see pic) are at their best and the apple blossom is not far behind.
The Orchard looks really well cared for too since we have replaced many of the deer guard stakes and provided many of the trees with improved support. We are most grateful to the team of volunteers who have managed this. I must also mention (and thank) the team who are on caterpillar far none seen! 
Do take the time to visit the Orchard.....listen to the birds and admire the blossom. We need to take our minds off the current crisis and look to the future......
With all good wishes to you all for Easter

Sunday, 5 April 2020

News March 2020

We've been having a busy time in the Orchard recently replacing stakes for the deer guards in some cases, and improving support for the trees with a new system of wires.
At last we've been able to reduce the height of the deer guards too....with just a couple left at full height on the two newest trees. We have also weeded, fed and mulched the trees as recommended by the Chairman of the RHS Fruit group who visited in the autumn.
We have also set up Caterpillar Watch to ensure no repeat of last year's devastating attack by winter moth caterpillar. 
Blossom time is approaching try to visit in the next few weeks. It's the perfect antidote to the corona virus and how that is forcing us to change our ways of life. Nature is still "doing its stuff" and we can still enjoy it.

Thursday, 20 February 2020


It's that time of year again when we need to tidy up in the Orchard, spread some mulch and feed the trees.....WEDNESDAY 18 MARCH at 0930
  • Weeding each tree site
  • Adding feed (fish blood and bone)
  • Manure to Ashmead's Kernal and Pixie
  • Topping up the mulch to each site
  • Checking the stakes and the new supports
Before we get to the 18th we are paying for some work being done in the Orchard replacing some of the badly rotted deer guard stakes, and then we are going to be redoing the supports for the trees as this was recommended by Gerry Edwards when he did his inspection.....we are delighted to have some money to spend. Partly through a most generous gift received last year, and partly using the most generous donations at the Wassail.
So on the 18th, do bring kneelers, small hand forks, grab bags for the weeds.....we have 2 wheelbarrows at the site already.....but to move the mulch we'll need shovels and possibly rakes.
Looking forward to seeing lots of you there.....I'll be bringing coffee and bix as usual

With good wishes to you all for a happy and FRUITFUL YEAR
Helen and the Orchard TEAM

Friday, 14 February 2020

Another magic Wassail 2 February 2020

This year’s Limpsfield Community Orchard Wassail party was yet another sparkling success with over 150 people coming along to join in our fruity festivities and one couple even using the special occasion to get engaged!
The evening kicked off at the Royal British Legion, Grub Street for a pre-procession drink, distribution of torches and an explanation of the event, delivered brilliantly as ever by our Wassail Master Andrew Claringbull and his team.
Accompanied by the North Downs Drummers, with lots of very pretty lights hung along the Orchard trail throughout the woodland and with torches aloft, the procession was relaxed and made its way to the orchards at a safe and stately pace, so that the very many children could see and understand the ceremony.
Thanks to an unseasonably balmy evening, and despite the recent rain, we managed to light the fire having built the fire with previously collected dry wood and hundreds of dried fir cones.  As in previous years, the bonfire was masterminded by Ian Green who kept it burning throughout the evening, along with his very able assistant, Jasper Claringbull.
Our King Tree was lit up and dressed with toast, salt and apple to ensure a good harvest and with much singing and noise - bells rattles saucepans and of course the drummers, we performed the passing of the Wassail bowl with hot spicy cider and the traditional WAES HAEL toast.
Then it was back to the bonfire for more cider, sausages (hot dogs) and apple cake, plus of course lots more drumming around the fire.
What a fantastic night it was, with the skies staying clear and very little wind which helped keep our torches alight. It all conspired to provide a warm, colourful, fun and also romantic setting - for one couple at least (part of the North Downs Drummers) - who got engaged by the King Tree! Congratulations from us all!

We are extremely grateful for all donations received on the night, which will help us improve the much-needed deer guards and support systems for the trees.

Friday, 25 October 2019


We recently held a well attended party in St Peter’s Hall to mark 10 years of successful apple and pear growing in our Community Orchard. It was great to see many of the original volunteers and to be able reminisce about our early struggles with the nettle and brambles. Although we saw the site in December 2009 we didn’t actually plant the trees until November 2010. There was a huge amount of work to do, and in the early days there were work parties at least weekly with massive bonfires as we cleared the site following 40 years of neglect.
Helen would like to thank the committee (Lorna Ball, Peter Jarvis, Jennie Ephgrave and Pauline Whyte) for their continued enthusiasm and expertise. And we are grateful to our Friends who generously support the venture with annual donations. Many of the early volunteers are still working regularly with us and we can look forward to the next ten years with confidence.

 Jeremy Turtle & John Gilbert volunteers from the start
Ed Heaver & Andrew Claringbull our Wassail Masters
We can be proud we've started our Orchard ….and it can only get better as years go by. We are at the very forefront of a movement round the world to re green spaces and in our Orchard we are encouraging wildlife by being insecticide and pesticide free and allowing the grass to grow longer and become more diverse with many wild flowers. We are encouraging a reduction in food miles and want to teach children where our food comes from.

 Steve Thresher & Bob Paterson regular volunteers
This can only work if more people contribute not only in work parties but by taking responsibility for individual aspects such as hedges, steps, bonfires etc and some of the social activities too. Our Wassail is assured for the next year or so but we will always need more people offering to help.

Here’s to the next ten fruity years!

Tuesday, 10 September 2019


      Do come to our 
    To celebrate our 10th anniversary

St Peter’s Hall (The Glebe Room)
On Saturday 12 October from 6 to 8

Revisit our journey from forgotten wasteland to productive Orchard

Results of the Photographic Competition and presentation of prizes

Wine and nibbles…..