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Rivers Heritage

Orchard Maintenance Diary 2020

Maintenance Day Years:2015201620172018201920202021

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Monthly Maintenence December 2020

Despite the recent wet weather Sunday was a lovely fresh day and some volunteers tackled clearing the ditch near the bridge and along the east side of the Orchard. Still some work left to do near northern end. When ditch dries out may have to use spade to clear out some landslides! Other jobs included clearing grass from membranes along final row of plum trees, spreading chippings on path either side of bridge and replacing some membranes.

As we will not be holding a Wassail Adrienne indicated there would be a January maintenance day to tackle the apple tree pruning. Several people preferred it to be the 10th as opposed to the third.

Many thanks to volunteers Rob, Adrienne, Eric, Ruth, Keith and Paul.

Monthly Maintenence November 2020

It has been a very wet October but the rain kept at bay and it was a lovely morning. Some volunteers continued to remove cut grass from the membranes around the cherry and plum trees in the west of the Orchard, while others remove the apple pruning left for the rabbits to the main pruning pile. There had been no signs of rabbits for two months.

Chippings were spread either side of the bridge as the wet weather and footfall had taken its toll. The bridge was swept but some concern that either side of wire netting on bridge nearest hospital road was very slippery. Adrienne to contact STC and suggest wire netting spread over whole width. The willow trees were pruned and several members started to clear ditch around the bridge. We will continue with ditch clearance next month.

About seven membranes need replacing. Adrienne and Rob to cut out for next maintenance session. It is believed we can meet next month as we are a volunteer group. This will be checked.

Many thanks to volunteers Rob, Adrienne, Hazel, Dave, Robinne, Eric, Ruth, Keith and Michael.

Monthly Maintenence October 2020

Unfortunately we were not able to hold our usual Apple Day, but regular volunteers and four extra helping hands gathered to harvest apples for juicing. The weather forecast was not promising and so all came well waterproofed for the job in hand. We did experience on and off rain, but it was lighter than expected. We picked between 10.00am and 2.15pm and then loaded the van. The fifteen volunteers managed to fill 43 crates and this produced 629 bottles of Mixed Juice – a brilliant effort! This year we had a good crop of Bramleys. The majority of apples picked were cookers with some Cox and a small number of Laxtons and Russets to help sweeten the juice.

Many thanks to regular volunteers Rob, Adrienne, Eric, Ruth, Dave, Hazel, Robinne, Paul, Keith, Steve and Lanier and to four additional helper, namely Barrie, Dave Royle and two others.

Monthly Maintenence September 2020

We had originally had this booked to prepare area around apple trees for Apple Day. The Orchard had had its annual grass cutting and so volunteers cleared the grass from off the membranes around the apple and pear trees and checked them for any damage. Repairs were carried out where necessary. Some membranes will have to be replaced – job for November maintenance day. The use of Paul’s leaf blower was a great asset and speeded things up considerably. Adrienne inspected ground for any holes around apple trees in preparation for Apple Picking Day.

Many thanks to Rob, Adrienne, Paul, Keith, Eric, Ruth, Robinne.

Extra Maintenence Day

It was a lovely September morning and a real delight to see Elisabeth Crafer again after nearly two years. Rob had several volunteers pruning out diseased branches from apple trees and the rest took the disease branches to our usual wood pile to the south west of the site. NB. as far from apple trees as possible. We will hopefully burn this wood. Volunteers were instructed to regularly disinfected tools. Hazel and Dave dealt with tree with large broken branch and filled trog with applse from the branch. It was believed this was damage caused by someone climbing the tree.

The site was cleared of as much dead wood as could be seen as the annual grass cutting was due to take place later that month. Hazel and Dave started to prune willow trees.

NB. After the grass cutting a wasps nest was revealed at base of damaged apple tree and a sign was placed on tree so public aware.

Many thanks to Rob, Adrienne, Robinne, Paul, Keith, Steve, Lanier and their daughter, Elizabeth Waugh, Elisabeth Crafer, Dave, Hazel, Eric and Ruth.

Monthly Maintenence August 2020

Firstly, Rob had to deal with damaged plum tree in south of Orchard and then with assistance went to prune cherry trees in north of Orchard. Robinne and Adrienne continued with checking membrane trees – clearing grass etc.. that was started last month.

Many thanks to volunteers Rob, Adrienne, Robinne, Paul, Keith.

Monthly Maintenence July 2020

We met for the first time since March as we now felt current Covid restrictions allowed, but we limited this to regular volunteers. In our bubble pairs we dealt with removing of dead and damaged branches and clearance of grass from around membraned trees.

Many thanks to volunteers Rob, Adrienne, Hazel, Dave, Eric, Ruth and Paul.

Monthly Maintenence June 2020

From April 2020 to June 2020, RHSO maintenance days were suspended due to CoVID-19

Monthly Maintenence March 2020


It was a lovely morning. No rain, a miracle as the last month saw one of the wettest Februarys recorded. The ground just outside the Orchard was waterlogged and the ditches high with water. The ditch on the southern boundary was overflowing. We will have to look into this. Enquire whether farmers or our responsibility. Other ditches we have maintained in past coping. Many of the paths around the Orchard site were very muddy and as a result the public are creating other paths through the trees. It was also noted that there is a lot more dog poos around the site than before that is not pleasant for the volunteers working on the trees.


This month we started to try and shape some of the apple trees. Rob instructed and demonstrated this and several volunteers continued. This will be continued over the following months. The rest of the volunteers started the annual maintenance of the membraned trees. This meant checking stakes and guards, removing grass from base of trees and feeding with chicken manure. Again, this will be on going, but needs to be done before grass takes off. This year this will be earlier because of rainfall. Last winter was very dry.

No further rabbit damage seen to apple trees, but the prunings we left out had been generously attacked. Tactics seemed to have worked. Noted that late February saw blossom on some plums and our single apricot. Result of mild weather.

Many thanks to volunteers Rob, Adrienne, Robinne, Geoff, Paul, Lanier, Steve, Keith, Eugene, Eric and Ruth.

Monthly Maintenence February 2020


The weather was kind to us and the few volunteers that came continued with primary pruning of the Newton Wonders and the more established trees at the north end of the Orchard. Two volunteers tackled the general pruning of the russets and other trees nearby.

Due to recent damage by rabbits we placed apple tree prunings along the southern boundary. Rob and Adrienne had been advised at a recent Management Course they had attended, to do this as rabbits would attack these. These prunings should be taken to wood pile later in year.

Due to mild weather we will not prune apples after mid Feb. We may have to resurrect a maintenance day in January to deal with this in future. Rob and Adrienne dealt with pruning all the young apple trees before and after this maintenance day. Due to rabbit damage discovered before the Wassail event Adrienne guarded all damaged apple trees and many other apple trees that were at risk.

Adrienne and Rob have checked the Orchard at regular intervals following the high winds and dealt with any damaged branches. Relatively little damage seen.

Many thanks to volunteers Rob, Adrienne, Geoff, Hazel, Dave, Lanier and Steve

Maintenance Day Years:2015201620172018201920202021