Scattered Orchards Project

 Following a successful Scattered Orchards Project in the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), where 15 community orchards were planted in 2016, further funding for the scheme was extended for 2017.

Emma Black, Countryside Officer, Dedham Vale AONB and Stour Valley Project, wrote to Hartest Parish Council to offer five traditionally grown fruit and nut trees of local origination to be planted on publically accessible land in each parish in the Stour Valley.

The aim of this project is to provide an investment in the future of each parish, which will enrich the biodiversity of the parish, provide opportunities for future generations of foragers, re-instate traditional fruit trees, in particular the rare Suffolk/Essex varieties and engage with local communities. Planting small clumps of traditional fruit and nut in publicly accessible land means local people can benefit from the trees; enjoying seeing the blossom in the spring to eating their fruit / nuts in the autumn. These trees as well as providing habitats for a wide variety of wildlife will also be available for everyone now and also for future generations to enjoy.

Hartest Parish Council were delighted to accept this offer on behalf of our community and Emma who would oversee the Project visited the village last Autumn, to help choose suitable sites. It was decided that the Cemetery would be suitable for two plums named Czar and Purple Pershore plus a dessert apple, James Grieve which will be pollinated by already established crab apples nearby. The other site choosen is by the top of Hartest Wood near Cooks Farm for two apples, a Peasgood Nonesuch cooking apple and a St Edmunds dessert apple. It has not been necessary to plant any nut trees as there are already some in the wood.

On the 27th January the trees were delivered and absolutely everything was provided for the planting which took place the next day. As well as five really good trees, we were given stakes, tree guards, ties, mulch mats, labels plus instructions on how to plant and care for our new trees.

Rewarded with the promise of the famous flap jack, John, Clive, Val and James planted them on what was a dry and fairly warm morning! Now the planting is done, we do need help with the aftercare of these trees.

During the summer once leaf is showing, they will need watering at least every two weeks and the ties and stakes checked. They will be especially vulnerable in the Cemetery with all the deer activity that is currently experienced. It will take a few years, but when the trees are in fruit then there is access to you all to enjoy picking it. When that time comes do give thanks for this gift and generosity of the Project, remembering the individuals who planted them and those who continue to care for them.     

If you would like to be involved with the care of these particular trees or any other work that is needed on occasions in Hartest Wood, the Cemetery or around the Village, we would love to hear from you.

Please contact John Kemp 01284 830919