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WOLDS END ORCHARD PROPOSAL - OPENING STATEMENT

The historical and environmental importance of Wolds End Orchard
 

Wolds End Orchard forms part of the historic environment and cultural heritage of the town and is a tribute to our agricultural past.

The Orchard contains rare varieties of fruit trees and its distinctive ridge and furrow landscape is one of the town’s last remaining examples of medieval farming methods. It has never been intensively farmed and its veteran trees, hedgerows, grassland and limestone soil create a unique and irreplaceable ‘mosaic’ habitat; an ideal environment for vulnerable species of plants, insects, bats and birds. 

Wolds End Orchard holds a very special place in the hearts of many local people; to us, its history and unique status is of equal importance to Campden’s iconic architecture and, as such, must be protected from development.
 

The importance of preserving orchards is recognised both nationally and locally:
 

  • They are now designated Priority Habitats under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (2011) and play a vital part in providing protection for many endangered and vulnerable species.
     

  • Their biodiversity and heritage give them special status in the Cotswolds AONB Management Plan (2018-23) CE7 Biodiversity and CE6 Historic Environment and Cultural Heritage policies.
     

  • The National Planning Policy Framework (February 2019) has increased its protection for ancient and veteran trees and clearly states they may only be removed for “wholly exceptional reasons” as follows: 
     

175. c) development resulting in the loss or deterioration of irreplaceable habitats (such as ancient woodland and ancient or veteran trees) should be refused, unless there are wholly exceptional reasons  and a suitable compensation strategy exists…

 

(For example, infrastructure projects (including nationally significant infrastructure projects, orders under the Transport and Works Act and hybrid bills), where the public benefit would clearly outweigh the loss or deterioration of habitat}.

 

As a Community Orchard and Nature Reserve, Wolds End will:


THE FRIENDS OF WOLDS END ORCHARD.
 

  • We have the funding in place to purchase WEO at a non-speculative price and to manage it in the immediate future.
     

  • We have a proven track record in fund raising and charity organisation.
     

  • We have the expertise and volunteers to get the project off the ground and a wealth of experts/organisations to call upon when needed. See Wolds End Orchard Management Plan

 

IMMEDIATE GOALS – FIRST MONTH
 

  • Set up a Community Benefit Society to manage Wolds End Orchard.
     

  • Set up management and volunteer teams.
     

  • Raise money to fund day to day costs via local charities, donors and funds.
     

  • Take over Public Liability Insurance and take advice on security.
     

  • Consult with local experts e.g. Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, The Orchards Project, PTES, RSPB, etc.
     

SHORT TERM GOALS – FIRST SIX MONTHS
 

  • Carry out bio-diversity survey and assessment of the Orchard as a nature reserve and traditional orchard.
     

  • Draw up a schedule of works for regular maintenance, management and replanting designed to preserve the orchard habitat along PTES guidelines. 
     

  • Hold a ‘soft’ opening to the members of the public: Campden residents and Orchard supporters in the first instance.
     

  • Communicate via local press, website, social media accounts with a diary of work in progress, creating a ‘blueprint’ to assist other community groups embarking on similar projects.
     

  • Recruit Ambassadors to help raise the profile of the orchard and increase funding opportunities.
     

  • Hold fundraisers and apply for funding as necessary from individuals and local/national charities for landscaping scheme and other projects.
     

MEDIUM GOALS – SIX MONTHS – A YEAR
 

  • Create a landscaping scheme that provides paths for visitors and natural seating, whilst also be  being mindful of providing access for the less mobile.
     

  • Set up educational programmes with local schools and nurseries.
     

  • Create links with day care, nursing homes and other Campden support charities.
     

  • Hold an open day and invite the general public; supporting organisations; and the media to attend
     

  • Hold “low impact” community events at the orchard (eg. Apple Day, Wassail, etc.)
     

  • Investigate registering the orchard as a community asset and with AONB.
     

LONG TERM GOALS (WITHIN 18 MONTHS).
 

  • Explore using for the fruit, i.e. apple/cider production and liaise with local companies and Campden School.
     

  • Investigate the possibilities of creating a wildlife pond, a bat house, a bird hide & a wildlife ‘corridor’ from surrounding fields and installing webcams and camera traps.