It was lovely yesterday to meet the organisers of Capel Community Orchard, Roger and Celia Worraker, and to chat about how we might set up a community orchard in Grosvenor and Hilbert Park. Roger, as a former lecturer on fruit growing at Hadlow college, was just the right person for advice! Their orchard was planted in February 2012 to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Each tree has a sponsor, and the orchard now has about 60 to 70 trees, and has reached capacity. The trees are far enough apart to allow a commercial mower between the rows, and they won’t grow too tall, therefore making harvesting easy. There is a wide range of fruit – apples, pears, cherries and plums, and for now each sponsor can take all their own fruit. It’s hoped that as the trees grow and the harvest is more bountiful, the crop can be shared amongst the community.
After the orchard visit we retired to Roger and Celia’s house for a splendid afternoon tea, and a look at their photographic history of the planting. Further photos can be found on The English Apple Man , and the orchard is open to the general public via the village hall car park, so may be worth a return visit when the blossom is out next spring. Roger and Celia are hoping that as the trees mature, the orchard will become a community area for picnicking amongst the blossom and leaves, and is a lovely legacy for the future.