Summer in the Orchard 2020

Members have continued to visit the orchard throughout the summer and we were delighted once again to be included in the Garden Trail organised in aid of the Community Centre.

The open spaces allowed us to plan a route around the orchard enabling our visitors to visit safely. Some or our families even brought a picnic and made the most of their visit.

As usual, we had lots of help from our members, a big thank you to them.

Apple picking and juicing day October 2019

Despite the damp, rainy October we have been experiencing, we were lucky to have a sunny morning for our annual apple picking and juicing day. Despite the poor crop of apples we were able to pick enough to share with the orchard members and produce some bottles of juice.

Although the apple crop may have been disappointing this year we have had a bumper crop of hazel and cob nuts.

Earth Hour March 30th 2019

earth hour 2019We were not quite so lucky with the weather for this year’s celebration of Earth Hour! However, the rain stopped and a still evening with not wind meant that we could sit out around the brazier. The skies were mainly cloudy, but towards the end of the evening, the clouds began to thin and we could see some stars.

Our young orchard members had a brilliant time running around with their tourches enjoying the experience of playing in the dark. They were really interested in the star gazing and very knowledgable.

As usual, there was some lovely food to share and mulled cider. Thanks to all who joined in to celebrate Earth Hour 2019.

If you would like to find out more about Earth Hour then please visit the website by clicking here.

Basket Weaving Workshop 16 & 17 November 2019

Thanks to the organisational efforts of Sonny Shepherd, members and friends of the Orchard and Margery Flatts allotments were able to take part in a basket weaving workshop led by Joe from Abundant Earth.

Joe was a brilliant teacher, talking us all through the processes of making a traveller basket. Starting with two circles, we were all able to produce, with help from Joe, a beautiful woven basket. Joe made it look easy but it was trickier in practice and you definitely needed to know your left from your right!

As it was a day workshop, we all brought along some lunch to share, so we all ate well too!

Many thanks to Sonny for organising the days, and look forward to the next one!

October 6th 2018, Juicing and apple picking day

Many of the orchard members came together for our annual apple picking and juicing day. A tent was set up to sort the apples for eating and to share them between members.

Any apples unfit for eating were juiced. The apples had to be cut up, chopped then pressed. The juice was then bottled for members to take away.

We also took the opportunity to take samples of each apple for a later apple tasting session. The orchard grows a wide variety of apples, many of which are not available to buy in shops. Each one has it’s own distinct flavour and produces a different type of juice.


Village apple juicing afternoon

During the afternoon, eight village families brought their own apples along to be juiced. All had responded to the advert we had placed in the Village Voice. We soon had a production line going with orchard members staying to help.


Garden Open Day Saturday 28th July 2018

We were so pleased that the orchard and allotments were included as places to visit during the Garden Open Day. Although the weather was mixed, we still had up to 50 visitors walking around and finding out more about the orchard and allotments. We had so many positive comments from our visitors and some decided to join as members.

Our new seating area ready for the open day and looking very lovely in the sunshine.

Midsummer Celebration

On Saturday 23rd June we held our annual midsummer celebration. We meet in the orchard about 5.00 pm to share food, chatter and some amazing music. Three members and friends of the allotment and orchard played and sang a selection of folk music. It was a perfect evening to listen to such lovely music in the peaceful, summer evening setting of the orchard.

There was an very tasty selection of food and cakes and a barbeque to cook on. We had games to play and even did some dancing to the music.

It was a very good way to celebrate the lovely summer weather!

Celebrating Earth Hour 2018

Earth hour is a worldwide grass roots movement organised by the WWF to unite people to take action for our planet and shine a light on climate change. Every year ordinary people, organisations, businesses, cities and iconic land marks across the world turn off their lights for one hour.

Members of the Lanchester Community  Orchard and Margery Flatts Allotments were invited to turn off all their lights and bring their soup and hot drinks along to the orchard to celebrate Earth Hour 2018.

We all met, along with family and friends, on a lovely, chilly clear March evening at 8.00 with candle lights around the central area and avenues and a brazier helping to ward off the chilly air. Hoping for a clear sky, we suggested that people could bring binoculars along to do some stargazing and we weren’t disappointed. Simon Johnson, an orchard member was on hand to guide us around the night skies.

This was the second time we have celebrated Earth Hour in the Orchard and once again, we were lucky to have a calm, clear evening with a wonderful view of the sky and even saw three shooting stars. We shared tasty home made soup, fantastic home baking and good company.

Willow Weaving and Hurdle Making in the Orchard

What a brilliant day members of the Lanchester Orchard and Allotment groups had on Saturday 24th March. They spent the day led by Joe and Matt from Abundant Earth, Brancepeth, weaving willow structures and hazel hurdles.

Half of the group made 2m high willow pyramids that would grace any garden or allotment and provide the perfect climbing frame for sweetpeas or beans alike. They then wove a living willow structure round the bench at the end of the nut walk in the orchard. This we hope will take root and provide dappled light for those resting a while beneath its branches.

The other group spend the day with Matt learning the ancient traditional craft of hurdle weaving. They learnt how to set the upright poles, called zales, split hazel poles and weave them around the upright posts. When finished, the hurdles were solid and sturdy and ideal for screening and wind breaks on the allotment plots.

Not only did the members enjoy their creative tasks but also the wonderful warm spring weather, the views over Lanchester and the surrounding countryside and the lively banter from their companions.

A great day of fresh air, friendship and creativity!