Collingham Community Orchard
‘Community Orchards can offer:
Places for quiet contemplation and centres for local festivities; they act as carbon sinks, reservoirs for varieties of fruit, and refuges for all manner of wild life.
Ways of reinforcing local distinctiveness, as people band together to save vulnerable old apple, pear, cherry, damson and plum orchards and local varieties of fruit.
They should be accessible at reasonable times.
They may be owned or leased by a community group, voluntary organisation, parish council or other tier of local authority.
Local people can share the orchard harvest or profit from the sale of its produce, taking responsibility for any work done.’
(Community Orchards Handbook – Common Ground 2008)
Until relatively recently, orchards were a familiar sight across the country, and not just in rural locations. Fruit was grown for a local market, but post war changes in shopping habits and the decline of a mixed agricultural economy, meant that they fell victim to replacement by other crops or development, their shadow remaining in the naming of housing developments like Damson Way or Bramley Close. With this loss went the mature trees fragrant with spring blossom, numerous local varieties of fruit which failed to meet the supermarket criteria for uniformity or transportability and a rich and varied flora and fauna which thrived on the mix of nature and nurture unique to orchard management. Community orchards across the country are now working to reverse this decline.
Collingham Parish Council, at a meeting held in May 2010, unanimously agreed to a proposal by 2020 Green Vision (Collingham’s environmental group) that a recently acquired piece of land between Swinderby Road and Crew Road should be managed as a Community Orchard on behalf of the village.
The next step was to put forward a management plan to the Parish Council, raise funds, plant and maintain this orchard with a mixture of fruit trees and bushes. As with all community orchards, access would be available at all times and indeed the character of this space would be enhanced by the trees and the wildlife they attract.
If you feel that you would like to become more involved with the development and care of this orchard then please contact the Collingham Parish Clerk who will be able to put you in touch with the Orchard Association.
About the trees:
The majority of the trees in this orchard have been selected because they are local to the Trent Valley or because they help with cross pollination. Local trees benefit from the ability to thrive in the climate and soil from which they originate.
Most of the trees were propagated before 1900 and few have fruits likely to be found in the shops today, therefore the orchard seeks in a small way to preserve them for their biodiversity and historic value. As they mature, the trees will become a rich habitat for plants, insects and birds. With this in mind, the orchard is managed using organic principles. Outside the fruiting season, the orchard is to be enjoyed as a spectacular aerial garden at blossom time and as a place for relaxation at any time.
The orchard consists of apples, pears, damsons, medlars and cob nuts. Dessert fruits are palatable raw, whilst culinary are usually improved by cooking and the addition of sugar. Dual purpose fruits can be eaten raw or cooked, the former usually after a period of storage and mellowing. The cider apples are for juicing and are not recommended for eating. Medlars should be used when very soft and for cooking or making preserves. If they are gathered before the squirrels raid them in early September the cob nuts can be eaten fresh, however they will not keep.
Please pick only enough for your immediate and personal use so that as many people as possible can enjoy the fruit. Observe the time recommended for picking. Fruit picked early will be unripe and may well disappoint.
2014 - 2015 Improvements to the approach paths, a noticeboard and the signage were made possible by a grant from Nottinghamshire County Council and the Big Lottery Fund.