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Villa Street Community Garden Apple Day

Event Date: 25 Oct 2016

Apple pressing, tasting, peeling and even volcano making are just some of the activities involving apples that will be going on at a Hereford community garden and orchard on Tuesday 25th October in honour of Apple Day, an annual celebration of Britain’s rich apple growing heritage.

The Villa Street Community Garden, including a community orchard planted with the support of Helping Britain Blossom, is a-peel-ing to local residents to join in the apple-themed celebrations – which take place from 13:30 – 15:30 on Tuesday 25th October at the Community Garden Villa Street in Hunderton, Hereford.

Herefordshire of course is renowned for its apple growing – there are more than 10,000 acres of orchards in the county, more than any other county in Britain – and Villa Street Community Garden has 11 mixed fruit trees of its own, including Herefordshire’s own russet apple variety.

The community garden itself was established in 2015 by members of the local community after Hereford Housing Association identified the derelict area of land adjacent to its flats as somewhere in need of regeneration, in order to make it more family-friendly.
The garden sits parallel to the river Wye which runs behind the adjacent blocks of flats and deep beds are set out in the shape of a boat. It is managed by the recently formed Hunderton Community Gardens Association, a committee of local residents who tend the garden.

Martin Danks, who has been gardening for more than 60 years, is one of the founders of the Villa Street Community Garden, and is a Helping Britain Blossom-trained orchard leader. He says:

“I was born with a damson in my mouth – I’ve been gardening since the age of three when I grew my first wheat! My passion for gardening led me to create, with other local people, the community garden on what used to be market gardens for Hereford, before the local housing expansion was begun in the 1930s.

“The community garden is fast becoming a place of pleasure and learning where local people can come and enjoy the garden in their own way. The Apple Day celebration on 25th October provides a wonderful opportunity to get even more local people involved – and hopefully its ongoing care throughout the year too. The more the merrier.”

Jo Dainty from the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust will be running the Apple Day event and explains what visitors should expect on the day:

“We’re planning a number of different apple-related activities to help people celebrate our county’s tradition of apple growing – from apple pressing and tastings, to peeling competitions and even making apple volcanoes. There will be something for everyone! The garden itself is a little oasis that is so unexpected in its location in one of Herefordshire’s most deprived areas. We hope events of this kind will really encourage people to take some pride in their environment and pleasure in having a little bit of nature on their doorstep.”

A number of local residents have received specialist orchard skills training from Helping Britain Blossom, to enable them to maintain the fruit trees and pass this learning on to others. Pete Norton from The Orchard Project is the Helping Britain Blossom project manager for Herefordshire:

“Community orchards have so much to offer people: from teaching children about growing food with all the knock on health benefits in terms of fresh air, diet and exercise, to bringing residents closer together by creating a space they can share and enjoy. Through our programme we are also teaching people new skills, in doing so helping to preserve Herefordshire’s fruit growing heritage for generations to come. We’d love even more people from the local community to get involved and so coming along to events like the Apple Day celebration is a great start!”

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