We survived a very wet winter and have great plans!


Spring 2014 Newsletter

18th March 2014

Dear Friends of the Orchard,
Spring seems to have finally arrived – after that long wet winter.  There was actually very little damage in the Orchard over the winter; we had a few trees blow over along with their protection structures, but these have all been repaired and the young (and flexible) trees seem to have survived. The rabbits have also been kept at bay. With all that moisture in the soil, we are expecting the trees to put on a lot of growth once the weather warms.

The Orchard is looking really good, and a priority for us this year is to get more people to come and see it, and enjoy the environment. We are in the process of putting up more signs, starting at the St Martin’s School end of the access road, which we hope will publicize the place and lead people down what can appear to be a rather daunting lane. We have recently put clear, permanent identification labels on all the trees, for people with an interest in fruit varieties, and we are looking at other ways to make the Orchard more of an educational resource for the town. We did have the biggest crowd in the orchard so far, when over 140 people came to the very successful “Wassailing” event in January, and are delighted that this resulted in quite a few new “Friends” signing up to support the orchard. So we are gradually getting better known. We will definitely be wassailing again next year!

We have already started our Spring activities in the orchard, with quite a bit of time spent on the pruning and general maintenance of the young trees, and of the newly propagated trees in the nursery area, where around 65 chip-budded root-stocks seem to have “taken” and will be brought on for possible planting out this autumn or in 2015. We have also held a joint Orchard Restoration / Remedial Pruning workshop at Moon Hall College in Leigh, where we are helping staff, students and parents renovate an old orchard in the grounds of this late Victorian mansion. This kind of external activity is an important part of what we do, and as ever this workshop, led by Alex Valsecchi, was popular and hugely enjoyable.
Once the clocks change to Summer Time, and the evenings are longer, we will start our regular Monday Evening work sessions which run from about 5 pm to 7 pm (or later). We try to do these on the FIRST and the THIRD Monday of each month, although the first few are disrupted by Bank Holidays and will be on the 7th and 28th April, and the 19th May. We would love to have any new volunteers come along and help with the routine maintenance activities – strimming, weeding, cutting brambles, mulching trees, watering if necessary, and generally tidying up. It really is a lovely place to spend a couple of hours on a summer evening, and get to know the place – so please do join us.

As a ‘Friend of the Orchard’ you are also a Member of the ‘Dorking Community Orchard CIC’, and as such have the collective power to replace any (or all) of the Directors of the CIC (who are, basically, the Core Team). We do not intend to call a General Meeting this year, although this can be done if requested. Our accounts for the past year will be posted on our website,
Best wishes,
Nick Wright 
Dorking Community Orchard
Upcoming Events
Sunday 18th May – 2.00 pm to 5.00 pm – “Blossom Picnic”
Join us in the Orchard for an informal afternoon enjoying the apple blossom. Bring your own picnic, rugs, games etc.  We will provide tea and cold drinks – you do the rest. A great opportunity to explore the orchard; children especially welcome.  Think also about bringing sketching materials: pens, pencils, paints or whatever and have a go.  There are lots of beautiful things to draw in the orchard. 

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