We've been asked what we are planning on the Turnditch Orchard Project.
The long thin rectangle shape of the land is not good for agricultural machinery techniques. It would be great for property development, but we've absolutely no intention of following that route. The land will remain agricultural and we intend to take a regular harvest from the land.
The site appears to have been neglected for many years. The level part is overgrown with uncut grass, extensive thistles and Alder shrubs. Many ants nests have made the ground very uneven. The road embankment, which forms part of the property is covered with unmanaged native tree, mostly English Ash and some Hawthorn. The hedges are unmaintained and ineffective. some of the trees tower over the Ashbourne Road (A517). Many of the fences are in poor condition and the stone posts to the entrance gate are damaged.
- Clear the grass and weeds with a scrub cutter;
- Create natural compost area
- Repair the gate posts and gates;
- Make the access secure;
- Create a temporary tool store;
- Take advice on the large old Ash tree;
- Clean out the undergrowth and unwanted trees in embankment area;
- Cut the chosen trees for coppicing;
- Trim trees overhanging the road;
- Restore the hedges;
- Cut the wood into logs and store for seasoning
- Turn unwanted wood into chips;
- Turnover the level ground soil with Rotavator & check drainage;
- Plant meadow seed, herbs and crops;
- Restore fences;
- Set up bee hives;
- Create safe access to the river.
- Select orchard trees for planting.
When these action are largely complete we'll discuss providing access to local villagers. The intention of coppicing is to provide greater nature diversity on the embankment and also provide a wood crop in the future years. It will look a little stark initially, but will provide some great benefits.