St Mary's Church Field Orchard: from the beginning
Local research groups are investigating apple-growing history in their own parishes and projects. More information about this on our "Links to Other sites" page.
The Orchard began in January 2009 with the planting of 23 half standard apple trees. The second planting, in February 2010, brought the total number of fruit trees to 58. There are 47 different named varieties: 35 half standards, 16 apple cordons, 4 espaliers (1 apple and 3 pears), 2 gage fans, a black mulberry and a quince.
‣ A list of all the trees in the orchard, plus those at the Jubilee Green orchard, with their uses and origins, can be found here (.pdf file, 5 pages, updated May 2020).
‣ The two images below will scroll through automatically.
- A 70-metre hedge was planted as part of the first day of action in January 2009. It forms a boundary between the orchard and the allotments. We wanted to make the hedge work hard for us so it is primarily native traditional hedge plants with extra wildlife-friendly fruits and cultivar varieties of edible soft fruits. The hedge was laid in the traditional way (Southern Counties style) in February 2015. Read our illustrated report of the hedge laying here.
- We planted: Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Hazel, Field Maple , Dog Rose, Guelder Rose, Wild Cherry, Crab Apple, Holly, Rowan, Raspberry, Redcurrant and Blackcurrant - 350 plants in all, in two staggered rows, 20cm apart with plants at 40cm intervals in each row; that was the theory, but measurements using hand-spans, and other forms of creative interpretation, helped to ensure that the hedge itself symbolises the diversity of the people of Bridport!
- The long grass underneath the hedge is home to slow worms, small mammals and insects. New Woodland Trust hedging trees (whips) were planted January 2014.
- Spring bulbs and wild flower seeds were sown in the meadow in 2010.
Click here to read a short illustrated report on grass management in the wildflower area (prepared by Nick Gray, DWT).
- The ground cover within the main orchard is being left as a meadow, with mown pathways and a central circle for events. The pathways and the circle are maintained by Bridport Town Council; the meadow grass will be scythed twice yearly by BCOG volunteers.