RHSO Community Events

Upcoming Events

Maintenance Day: Sunday 4th August, at 10:30 in the Rivers Orchard.

Apple Day: Saturday 5th October, at 0:00

Our Events

Our main events are:

We can also arrange tours of the orchard or talks about the history of the site or our maintenance work as required.

Events are announced here, on our mailing list or on Twitter or Facebook. You can subscribe to this calender to keep yourself updated as to our events by following the instructions here and the username rhso1725@gmail.com. If asked for a service provider, use google.com.

Apple Day

Apple Day is our main community event, taking place in early October. We invite people to help pick our apple crop. Pickers can taste our apple varieties and take some for themselves. The remaining crop will be juiced. We also have refreshments, demonstrations and displays about the history of the site.

Tools and instructions will be provided. We also need people to bake cakes and biscuits to sell, so please contact us if you are interested in helping.

Reports of previous apple days can be found here.


Wassail takes place every year in January (usually the evening of the 3rd Saturday). We have a bonfire using the wood pruned from the trees during the year and sing traditional wassail songs (Lyrics and sheet music can be found here) around the campfire. Refreshments (teas, coffees, mulled apple juice, mulled cider and cakes) are available.

A report of Wassail 2019 can be found here.

Maintenance days

We meet in the orchard (location), usually on the first Sunday of the month between 10:30 and 12:30 to maintain the trees, hedges and the rest of the site according to our management plan.

No expertise is needed. All tools and insturction will be provided. Maintenance days are suitable for older children under parental supervision, but are often unsuitable for younger children due to use of sharp tools and pruning heavy branches.

Reports of previous maintenance days can be found here but an approximate schedule of tasks through the year is as follows.

MonthTypical tasks
JanuaryMaintenance day usually on 2nd Sunday to continue heavy apple and pear pruning and prepare for Wassail.
FebruaryApple and pear tree main pruning, ditch maintenance, cleanup from Wassail
MarchApple and pear light pruning, tidying up from heavy pruning season.
AprilSite tidying, caring for young trees (guards, membrane, grass removal), light pruning of cherry and plum trees*
May**Caring for young trees (guards, membrane, grass removal)
JuneCaring for young trees (guards, membrane, grass removal), tidying up heavily pruned trees
JulyMain pruning of cherry and plum trees, hedge maintenance
AugustMain pruning of cherry and plum trees, hedge maintenance, picking plums, cherries and pears
SeptemberPicking pears, plums and early apples, clearing grass from young trees in preparation for full cut.
October***Preparations for apple day, picking fruit to store for apple day
NovemberDead wood removal from apple and pear trees, hedge maintenance.
DecemberWassail preparations, apple and pear tree pruning, ditch maintenance

* Only prune the leaders of the cherry and plum trees once the buds have started to open.

** May's maintenance day is often on the second Sunday to avoid a clash with the Sawbridgeworth May Fayre.

*** Apple day often falls on the first Saturday in October. In that case, the October maintenance day is moved to the last Sunday in September.

Orchard Tours

Our volunteers are able to give tours of the Rivers Nursery Orchard and Site tailored to interested groups. Please e-mail us to arrange one.

Orchard Talks

Our volunteers give talks one the history or the Rivers Nursery and/or the work we do on the site that can be tailored to suit the needs of local groups. We usually require a projector or screen that can take HDMI or VGA input, but we can source one ourselves if needed. Please e-mail us to arrange one.