Roughing it at Rough Hill
Laura Bower (our Conservation Officer) and three other keen members of staff have just been to visit Rough Hill, our orchard in Worcestershire, where they met up with our fantastic group of volunteers at their monthly work party. They got stuck in clearing bramble, grass and weeds away from the young trees and cutting back the bramble which has grown up around the old trees. This was made so much easier with the new shears and loppers!
The public footpath and the cow’s corral also had to be cleared. The grass had been mown earlier in the season, and six Dexter’s cattle have been happily grazing for a few months now.
As a break from the hard work battling the bramble, they spent an hour picking apples. Most of the Worcester Pearmains were finished but there were plenty of Bramleys, so they brought some back to London to juice and share with the other PTES staff.
Traditional Orchards are a Priority Habitat for conservation. They are a haven for wildlife especially those species which rely on dead wood, yet they are sadly in decline across the UK. Unimproved pasture of this kind, once common-place in the UK, is now an extremely rare type of habitat. Of the total amount of unimproved pasture known to exist in 1947, only 3% now remains. Even though much of the grassland at Rough Hill has been over run by scrub, it still manages to support over 110 species of plants!
We will be visiting again this winter to do some pruning and hopefully plant some new fruit trees. If you want give a helping hand please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.