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Archive for the ‘Community orchard’ Category

Today members of the Friends were out with the Sale and Altrincham Conservation Volunteers (SACV) to do preparatory work for another in the series of community orchards along the Loop.  Given recent weather, it was very pleasing to find we had a still day and wonderful sunshine for the task!  Today’s aim was to prepare the site for the planting of the trees in four weeks’ time, in particular to get the planting holes ready and use compost and topsoil to improve conditions (given the site’s past as the route of the railway) for the new trees.

If anyone would like to come back to join in with the planting on Sunday 16th March, all volunteers will be welcome!

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We are wassailing the Levenshulme community fruit orchard again in 2014!  The wassail will be held from 4pm on Sunday 5th January; for more details please see our Events page.

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Today members of the Friends, together with the Sale and Altrincham Conservation Volunteers, worked on the site of the new community orchard in Fallowfield, close to the Sherwood Street entrance to the Loop.  The work continued from preparatory activities carried out in December: today the planting holes were dug and prepared with compost, and the planting of the orchard will take place in four weeks’ time, on Sunday 17th March.  In addition to the orchard work, preparation for a new boundary hedge on the corner of Sherwood Street and Wellington Road was carried out.  As the pictures show, it was a perfect sunny spring day to be out enhancing the Loop!

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On Wednesday 12th December 2012 several of the Friends attended the North West Empowerment Awards ceremony.  These awards were open to community or voluntary groups that have delivered a project regarded as having made a positive difference in their community.  The Friends had been one of four shortlisted from 33 applicants in the “Better neighbourhoods” category, and although we did not win the prize we received a “highly commended” plaque for working with the Levenshulme groups on the community orchard!

North West Empowerment Awards – with thanks to North West Together We Can and Asian Lite Photographers Ian O’Brien and Stuart Rayson for the picture

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All welcome to this from 10.30 a.m. onwards, either to do a spot of work or just to view the site and chat!  The location is just west of the entrance to the Loop which is on Sherwood Street, Fallowfield.  Here is a map
 
The main job is to do a preliminary clearance of the undergrowth on the proposed orchard site – brambles, saplings and other growth – and possibly to mark out where the planting holes might go. There is also some rubbish collection from the Sherwood Street entrance to do. Please bring tools relevant to these tasks if you can.  Suggested tools are: saw, cutters, shears, spade, rake.  Please also wear suitable shoes/boots and gloves.  The orchard site is under the Wellington Road bridge and across the bridge over the stream immediately to the right.

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Well, it’s taken us a while to get some pictures here but last month (Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th September) local Levenshulme residents, young volunteers from ‘The Challenge’ and members of the Friends got together to continue work on the orchard, in particular putting down the underlay and woodchip for the paths.  A great weekend’s work!

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A reminder that the Friends will be holding a workday at the community orchard tomorrow (Monday 27th August 2012) – all are welcome to help out to continue to enhance this area!  Further details are here.

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This year’s AGM will take place on Monday 16th July at 7.30 p.m. at (as all our meetings) the Union Chapel, Wellington Road, Fallowfield, M14 6EQ. All members are invited to attend. The main items of business will be officers’ reports for the past year and the election of officers and committee for the forthcoming one.  We are currently short of one committee member as well as the Chair, and any member interested in volunteering for these positions is encouraged to contact us in advance of the AGM for more information. 

Our normal meeting will follow the AGM.  Among the items to be discussed will be the Levenshulme community orchard, which under the terms of our grant we are committed to maintaining and enhancing into the future.

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On Sunday 20th May the Friends will hold an opening ceremony for the new Levenshulme station community orchard and the refurbished Highfield Park ‘lattice footbridge’, starting at 11 a.m.

The planned programme for the event is:

  • 11 a.m. at the orchard site (Crayfield Road/Kersh Avenue Loop entrance):  opening remarks by Friends Secretary David Beetham, ceremonial tape-cutting by local residents and photo session.
  • 11.30 a.m. (approximately) at the lattice bridge site: some reminiscences from Friends member (and Friends of Highfield Park chair) Alec Cowan, tape-cutting by him and St Andrew’s school representatives and photo session.

The fruit orchard, comprising apple, cherry, plum, greengage and pear trees, has been made possible using funds from the Friends, including a Manchester City Council environment award, with matched funding from the Government’s Big Tree Plant initiative, and sponsorship by local people.  Sustainable transport charity Sustrans, which owns the Fallowfield Loop, provided equipment and manpower for ground preparation, including Community Payback personnel.   The Friends, several local Levenshulme groups and individuals were involved in the actual planting, with help from the Sale and Altrincham Conservation Volunteers.  The orchard project also involved two fruit tree grafting workshops, led by members of the Friends.  The grafts are currently being ‘fostered’ by local people until they are large enough to add to the orchard.

The ‘lattice bridge’ is almost the only remaining railway artefact on the Loop.  The footbridge connects the north-west corner of Highfield Country Park with Thorncliffe Grove and is well used by recreational walkers and schoolchildren.  The refurbishment work involved replacing the top surface and several corroded metal plates supporting it, repointing the brickwork, replacing coping stones and repainting the metal latticework in the colours of the railway company that built the line.  The Manchester office of Sustrans sourced a grant for this work from the Department for Transport’s Links to Schools programme and organised the refurbishment, which has been a long-standing aim of the Friends.

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A bird's-eye view of work on the orchard site

Over forty-five people turned up on Sunday for the the planting of the new orchard, at a site on the Loop by Crayfield Road, near the old Levenshulme Station.

The Friends had obtained a grant from the Big Tree Fund, and

Planting in progress

The site in 1965 (picture by T. Brooks)

with the help of members of the Sale and Altrincham Conservation Volunteers and local residents, traditional varieties of apple, pear, plum, damson and greengage were planted, staked and watered. In the months and years to come it’s hoped that the blossom will add a welcome aspect to this popular part of the route, with people later able to pick the fruit for making jam and chutney!

While the trees were being dug in at the site, other volunteers were taking part in a workshop at the nearby Sidings pub, learning how to graft rootstock for further planting later on.

More pictures to follow!

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