Ditchling Village Orchard

Apple Day October 2017

Firstly, a massive thank you to all of you who managed to turn out and support our 4th Apple Day  despite weather warnings of high winds and rain.  A lovely crowd came along to enjoy the day, sample the apple bakes & cakes, hot and cold drinks, contribute to our new orchard banner designed by Ditchling Museum of Art and Craft, taste different honeys and make smoothies via the smoothie bike.

New this year we had apple fritters, apple poems from St Margarets school Year 4 children and a wider bar selection.  Particularly welcome on such a wet and muddy day were the  pulled pork baps with all the trimmings from Bartholomews Butchers in Keymer and our own veggie sausage burgers with Ditchling apple sauce and stuffing as well as soup and curry.

A special thanks to Bartholomews for stepping in at the last minute.  Also, in case you missed it, we are creating a map of Ditchling’s existing orchards. If you didn’t manage to register yours, please email me your address and types of trees (one tree or more) and we will ensure your orchard is registered.  We will be printing up tea towels for next year.

As you know we are raising funds towards a green roofed shelter for the Orchard.  We are delighted that  our net profit this year was £693.  It was a tremendous effort by all concerned, thanks to all the volunteers and helpers and thank you to all of you who donated so generously for us.  The queue for the apple pressing went on all day.  We will need to continue fundraising to reach our goal of around £4000  and are now about half way to that goal, so will be looking for grants and donations to reach the total.

Every year the PTA, Preschool and Brownies come and help us by running really fun activities for all the children.  We are very grateful to them and hope some of you might like to support them with their fundraising by attending their pre Christmas events, see below.

Upcoming events:
November 11th 7.30-11pm  St. Margarets School PTA Ceilidh at the Village Hall. 7.30-11pm.  The Unreel Ceilidh Band are playing and there will be a licensed bar, refreshments and a raffle.  Funds raised will be split between the PTA and the Village Hall.  Tickets available from the Post Office. Details on https://www.facebook.com/events/124599691625476/

December 2nd: Ditchling Preschool: Ditchling Christmas Market in the Barn on the Green. 12 noon – 4pm.  There’ll be seasonal foods and drinks,  lots of stalls, Santa’s Grotto, Children’s activities, Christmas trees and wreaths and lots more.   https://www.ditchling.com events/2249

Tae Chisholm for the Ditchling Orchard Team
You can contact us via email address ditchlingorchard@hkdtransition.org.uk

We are grateful to the Turner Dumbrell Foundation for making their land available for the Ditchling Village Orchard and supporting many of our activities.



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.







apple day email 01

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