Gleaning Trip to No Man’s Orchard
In preparation for Kent Apple Day, which was celebrated by Custom Folkestone on 5th October 2019, we travelled to No Mans Orchard in Canterbury to pick apples and explore one of only a handful of traditional orchards remaining in the Stour Valley. These large old apple trees are the home of many birds, insects and lichen and the orchard is available for everyone to use.
No Man’s Community Orchard is the first orchard in the UK to be designated as a Local Nature Reserve in recognition of its value for wildlife and to encourage its educational use. The ten acre site is also a Local Wildlife Site designated by the Kent Wildlife Trust, mainly because of the number of lichens and mosses found on the fruit trees. The orchard was first planted in 1947 with Bramley apple trees. Six cider apple varieties at the eastern end were planted in 1996 on a further two acres. More recently traditional apple varieties including Flower of Kent and Kentish Fillbasket have been planted to replace Bramley trees that have died. This work is carried out by volunteers from the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership and local villagers, and continues as needed.
The orchard is beautiful all year round, stunning when all the trees have blossom, and later in the year when the trees are heavy with fruit. The gnarled old trunks and huge branches are full of character although many are now showing their age and leaning heavily. Access to the orchard is through the recreation ground in Chartham Hatch –follow the signs for the North Downs Way.
Further information about the orchard is available from www.kentishstour.org.uk
Part of SOMETHING HELD IN THE MOUTH