Over 100 Villagers from Holbeton enjoyed a sunny Apple Day celebration on 11th October. With the help of South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (S Devon AONB) Communities Officer Nicky Bailey, the group secured a grant for the restoration and development of their Community Orchard in autumn 2013 from the Big Greenspace Fund
The area which is well used and much loved by residents of Holbeton needed regular tree maintenance. The grant has enabled pruning workshops and some new planting at the orchard as well as the drawing up of a new action plan for its development .
The apple day was action packed and included a wide range of ’appley’ activities including juicing, a cider tent, longest apple peel and guess the true/false Devon apple names competitions. Entertainment included the Holbeton “Minstrel Cyclists” Ukelele band and storytelling with Sara Hurley.
A huge crowd gathered to see the ceremonial log splitting for the new bench that is going to be produced by craftsman Peter Lanyon and villagers were given the opportunity to sign up for a series of workshops nearby to assist with making the bench.
The grant was to fund a programme of works and exciting community events and activities. Villager Penny Calcutt who has been at the forefront of the project said “This initiative has been great news for Holbeton Parish as a whole. It has meant we have been able to deliver a programme of events and skills training including all ages.
Nicky Bailey Communities Officer from S Devon AONB said “The orchard group has worked really hard over the past 12 months. They now have a much better maintained orchard and the parish can boast well skilled individuals who can help maintain the orchard and organise community events into the future.” The grant is administered by South Hams District Council Natural Environment Team.
What’s next for orchards in South Devon?
Orchards were a key feature in our South Devon Landscape with most villages and farms having their own. Many have been lost, but community orchards can provide a link back to that past landscape and are a brilliant asset for local people to enjoy. The AONB team are working to develop a wider community orchards project with partners “Orchard Link” to help more people get involved and understand the importance of orchards and apple growing in our area.