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Whitenap Community Orchard

Had a gorgeous sunny day for our Pruning workshop Sunday the 17th Feb.

We managed to renew all the mulch around the trees. Some bird boxes have been purchased and an extra one donated – so these will be put up soon.

A willow weaving workshop took place at the Orchard as part of Romsey’s Big Green Month (27th May 2012) – click here for pictures.

Bee on ragged robin flowerBee with head in Ragged Robin Flower

Bees visiting Ragged Robin flowers on our wild flower turf.

Bird box
Our new information board is looking great -

Some other plans for the future…

We are considering a small step in front of the notice board so small children can see it – probably made of a railway sleeper.

We are also considering ordering some tools for the ongoing work that will be needed, as not all volunteers have their own tools.  So far we have thought of..

- 2 x spades / shovels for mulching

- 2 x secateurs for pruning

- 1 x scythe(!) for cutting the wildflower turf

- 1 x rake for removing cut grass
- A couple of pairs of gardening gloves
Any comments or suggestions welcome –


Many thanks to the volunteers who turned out and help dig up nettles and lay the new wild-flower turf.  See pictures below. It should look really lovely next year!

Look out for our new Insect Hotel at the orchard – kindly made and installed by one of our volunteers?

Insect Hotel



Turf-laying at the Orchard October 2011


Preparing the ground


Turf rolled and ready for laying

Many hands make light work!

All finished – should look fantastic in the spring!


Click here to be taken to the Wildlfower Turf people blog about this project.




Spring in the orchard – April 2011

The trees are looking lovely – why not go and have a look!


Doing some weeding

Tree Planting – 20th November 2010

Many thanks to all those that helped during the day!

Ten volunteers spent the morning at the ”Family Trees’ nursery digging up the trees we needed. Then in the afternoon about 40 people assembled in the park to plant the trees. The Mayor of Test Valley, the Mayor of Romsey and Caroline Noakes MP came to lend a hand, as did other local councillors. With so much help the job was quickly done and we all enjoyed a glass of hot spiced cider and a fruit pie.

Later it the week school children from Halterworth school planted 5 more trees and spring bulbs to add some interest before the blossom appears in the spring.

At the 'Family Trees' nursery

Above: At the ‘Family Trees’ nursery.

Caroline Nokes and Roy PerryMark Cooper

Digging the holes

Driving in a support postDriving in a support post

Putting in posts to support the trees

whitenap orchard



Many thanks to everyone who helped on the day – we managed to plant all the trees in just over an hour! Thanks also to the children of Halterworth school who came and planted a few more trees and some daffodil bulbs for the spring.

Gound Clearance Work Party -25th Sept

Many thanks to all those who came along and helped!

We had lovely weather and were able to get a lot of clearing done as well as eating a few flapjacks!

Background info …

We have been offered a grant to plant a Community Orchard in the Botley Rd Recreation Ground.

The idea is, to have a variety of fruit trees, preferably local varieties, which anyone in the community can enjoy.

At the consultation, in the park on the 12th if June we had many positive comments and some concerns about vandalism and competing uses of the space e.g. football. See below.

A couple of alternative locations for the orchard were suggested and the orignal site moved to the far side of the park.

There will be a fence and native hedge around the orchard to protect the young trees from rabbits and provide extra habitats for wildlife. There will be gates to allow free access to anyone who wants to walk in around the orchard, pick the fruit or enjoy the blossom in the spring.

In the future we would like to run workshops about growing fruit and using it e.g. fruit pies, jams etc

More details available soon watch this space..

Comments from the consultation:

12th June 2010


How is this to be looked after? How are you going to stop people picking fruit and selling it?

It would be great to have a project that supported bees.

In favour of orchard.

The bigger the better! I love trees.

It’ll make the place look better.

Well done. Lets have more.

A waste of money, although it would be lovely. It will be wrecked by vandals.

Money could be better spent.

I am astonished at the negativity of some comments! This is a great idea – the more trees the better. A great idea for developing the community.

Great idea. Lots of trees with blossom would be good.

Very good idea, to encourage people to be involved in the local community. Hopefully it will be looked after by everyone.


Types of tree


Excellent idea! Bramley apple, variety of nuts.

Nice to have a mixture of fruits, nuts, etc. Strong vandal-proof bench.

Apple trees. Cherry tree. Plum tree. Pear tree. Damson tree.

Apple trees are a good idea and some soft fruit for birds etc.

Apple trees. Plum trees. Pear trees. Cherry trees. Blackcurrants – yes. Redcurrants – if possible. Nut trees away from fruit if possible, especially if half-standard not available. Try to keep mud away if possible.

Plums, apples, pears, sweet chestnut trees.

Suggested trees: mulberry, walnut, crab apple, plum, Bramley. What about an insect house? I think the orchard is a great idea!

Cooking apples. Walnut tree

We would like plums and apples.

We would like plums.



Plenty of room on the other side for football.

Over by goal posts would be better.

Not right location. Can it be over where brambles are on other side of park?

Think this is an excellent idea, would bring the community together. Don’t think it matters where the orchard is placed, still be plenty of room for dog walkers. A path through the orchard would be a good idea. Perhaps we could grow pumpkins too ready for the children to use at Halloween?

Great idea. Near the fence would be better with access from street.

There is a steeper slope people use for sledding (slippy if muddy!) at foot of 2 oak trees (one lightning-struck) towards the south (path) corner. Try not to lose this!

Would prefer football posts near the road and the orchard on the far side. Want 2 sets of goal posts.

A good idea. Put on the football pitch side, keep flat area by road. Wild flowers underneath. Hedge to include Hazels? Sloe. Blackberries.

Should be down bottom of park. Too close to playground – wasps will be a problem. Teenagers will use fruit as missiles.

Lovely idea – maybe away from the road would be better. Variety – good. Pickers – good. (Volunteers?!)

Keep off the steep slopes which are fun for go-karts and snow.

If over the far side, too far for elderly people to reach.

Lovely idea! Not planted to obscure the exits – so parents could safely still see children.

Keep off the direct path lines to reduce vandalism.

I object strongly to any open grass area being used for trees. All the open grass area is used every day of the year. I do love the idea of the orchard but do not use open grass areas.

The wrong place. It would be a crime. Suggest 2 different places – top corner near road, or towards current goal posts on slope.

Not right location. Over by the “dip” or by top end of Whitenap Lane. Let kids have playing areas.

Use the sloping part of field for orchard.



Can we get half-standard nut trees?

Be good to have a skate park as well

More benches.

Please could the council either cut the stingies down by existing “broken down” seats or have new ones!

This project has received £10000 funding from Viridor Credits Environmental Company, through the Landfill Communities Fund. We have also had a generous donation from the Romsey and District Society.

Test Valley Borough Council, the Association of Romsey Churches and local Romsey people have contributed to the early discussions and grant application.

Please watch this space for details or contact us to go on the mailing list.