Steyning Community Orchard News September 2018

Apple Day: 6th October. 13:00 - 16:00 - FREE.
This will be our 5th annual Apple Day. If you’ve not yet been to one, do come along to see what you’ve been missing.
It will still be a month away when you read this, so put the date in your diary. Banners and posters will appear around Steyning during September.

The Apple Day event is held amongst the trees in the Community Orchard on the Memorial Playing Field (Cricket Field), in the top left hand corner by the allotments.
• Apple juicing area. We will have 2 presses operating to press the apples you bring along into superb juice. Bring your own clean containers, or we can provide new 500ml juice bottles for 50p each.
• Children's activities area. Face painting,Games, Quizzes, Story Telling, Craft activities.
• Huge display of over 50 apple varieties to see and taste. All locally grown.
• Live Music all afternoon from 3 local groups.
• Refreshments. Cakes and produce sales. Apples, Apple Juice, Preserves.
• Riverside Brewery from Beeding providing us with local Beer and Cider.
• Fruit tree advice, apple tree sales. Tell us what fruit trees you have for our Steyning Fruit Map.
• Local craft stall selling turned wooden fruit (including apples of course!).
• Rock Farm community farm from Washington with their fruit and vegetables.

So what is Apple Day all about?

Apple Day was started in 1990 by the charity Common Ground. The first event was held at Covent Garden in London. By 2000 there were over 600 Apple Day events across the country, and now there are well over 2,000, including ours!

Common Ground describe the day as: 'a way of celebrating and demonstrating that variety and richness matter to a locality and that it is possible to effect change in your place. Apples are a symbol of the physical, cultural and genetic diversity we should not let slip away. Particular varieties of apples, with their place of origin, should be recognized and conserved for their contribution to local distinctiveness, including the rich diversity of wild life they support.'

We are doing our bit in Steyning. So far, we have planted 12 Sussex heritage variety apples, most of which would qualify for the WWF Red List of Endangered Species if they were animals! In the case of an apple called Bossom, a variety developed at Petworth House, it was down to just one known tree, and this blew down in a gale in 1986. Grafts were quickly taken and the variety has survived. We have taken grafts from our Bossom tree in order to have replacements ready in case ours should not survive.

We are also keen to learn what wildlife might be attracted to the area as the Orchard develops. We’ve been wanting to do a bat survey for some time, so were delighted that local naturalist Pete Varkala agreed to come along with his clever gizmo attached to his iPhone, that lowers the frequency of the bat echo locating calls so that we can hear them, and also identifies the bat species.

So on a warm evening in mid July, we walked around the Orchard and detected 33 calls from 4 different bat species:
Noctules our largest bat, Serotines only found in Southern England, Soprano Pipistrelles and our commonest bat the Common Pipistrelle. Most were hunting insects around the tall Perry Pear hedgerow on the Western side of the Orchard. We intend to repeat the survey later in the year.

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