Ditchling Village Orchard



Everyone involved in Ditchling’s Apple Day on 2 October agrees it was the best yet! A large crowd enjoyed a day of sunshine on the green, tasting cider, eating apple-themed food contributed by many willing hands, wanging wellies, listening to story-telling and trying all sorts of apple activities. The PTA and PreSchool had lots of things to do for children of all ages, and the Brownies organised Apple Monsters. There was local honey-tasting and bees in a glass-fronted hive; the Monday Group had bird houses and feeders; the Museum was printing A is for Apple. HKD Transition helped people make small bug hotels for solitary bees. Some 600 daffodils bulbs were planted around the war memorial and village green. A procession to the orchard was led by musicians and once there we sang some apple songs and tasted different varieties of apples.  Everyone was generous with their donations, which gave us a good start on our fund-raising to build a green-roofed shelter for the orchard.


The second annual Ditchling Village Orchard Apple Day on Sunday October 4, 2015 was a howling success, with a large apple press available for everyone to juice their apples, apple-y food and many other apple and wildlife related activities, such as bee-house and bird feeder building. Traditional welly wanging and Morris dancing was performed with a cider-fuelled gusto not seen since last year’s Apple Day. It all culminated with a procession to the orchard to meet the trees and display some of the bird feeders and apple monsters made by the children – some might even still be there if you fancy a look (squirrels permitting!)

Download our free, new, apple recipe book, pictured below, which celebrates the orchard, at  http://tinyurl.com/qyfxv8o


Saturday 17 January Ditchling Village Orchard Wassailed its trees this year on Old Twelfth Night, with the help of Ditchling Morris musicians and dancers, and Ditchling Cubs and Brownies.  The event marks a time to wish the trees good health. A procession moved from the village green to the orchard on Boddington’s Lane. After the short wassail people returned to the barn for hot spiced apple juice or cider and apple cake. A very successful event followed up by further planting of an apple and a quince tree later in February.







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Ditchling’s first Apple Day on the 5 October, 2014 proved to be a great success – thanks to the dedicated help of the volunteers, the support of the village and the wonderful weather!
It was truly a community event, with Mr Magnolia providing cider sampling and a potent mulled drink; the Museum of Art and Craft offering the opportunity to make an ‘A is for Apple’ print; Orchards without Borders loaning a beautiful information display; Ditchling Morris strutting their stuff; HKD’s stall; a story teller and a poet weaving their magic; and volunteers helping to entertain with the Cycle Smoothie Maker, the ‘bite an apple’ game, longest apple peel competition, apple cut out decorating, apple cookery, and, of course,  the spectacular Welly Whanging……
There was a wonderful selection of apple based dishes, both hot and cold, brought along to be shared, and the kitchen volunteers provided a steady flow of tea and coffee. And finally,  the main event – the apple pressing – producing gallons of juice from local apples. Visitors were extremely generous with their donations, enabling us to offer a largely free event and cover our overheads, and enough to spare to put towards new trees in the Orchard. Altogether, an occasion to be fondly remembered and hopefully repeated.


The village orchard on Boddington’s Lane was planted with some 25 volunteers from 8 to 80 gathering on Sunday 23 February, 2014 to plant fruit and nut trees, along with a wildlife-friendly hedge along the western fence.  We planted 5 traditional Sussex apples, 2 plums, a pear and 3 cobnuts, to add to the apple, pear and plums already in the orchard.

Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped prepare the site for planting, and with the planting itself, who worked hard with good cheer and brought plenty of cake.  And thanks to the Turner Dumbrell Foundation for making the land available and funding the planting and site preparation.

A team of volunteers has come forward to maintain the trees, including watering, mowing and pruning.  If you have ideas about activities that could be organised in the orchard please get in touch with us.

Pop along to look at the new fruit and nut trees.  Part of the Boddington Lane hedge, which was in poor shape is is being renewed as well.  The new hedge will be a mix of hazel, field maple, spindleberry, Guelder rose and Wayfaring trees.

HKD Transition orchard team: John Willis, Tae Chisholm, Penny Mitchell Juliet Merrifield.

See Brighton Permaculture Trust’s You Tube video on how to plant an apple tree – really well! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ra2R4IhOFik