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BUNNEY'S FIELD

COMMUNITY ORCHARD

ANTHONY STREET

FROM THIS...

TO THIS IN MARCH 2014

TO THIS IN AUGUST 2014

One of the few green spaces in the heart of Rothley Bunney's Field is named after Ken Bunney who kept it as a smallholding with fruit trees, hens and lots of old farm machinery. It was purchased by the Harry Hames Cottage Charity to preserve it for all time for the village.

Anita Armstrong, Rothley Tree Warden, Marion Vincent, Rothley Natural History Heritage Warden, and Steve Mitchell, Rothley Parish Councillor, started a litter pick in early 2013 of the area by the watercourse and ideas started to form about a much needed upgrade to this fenced off wild area. As well as being full of litter no work had been done to control the brambles, suckering trees and hops that were strangling the old plum and damson trees. The hawthorn hedge was badly in need of attention with large gaps and the effects of many years of flailing. Time to improve this area! The Chairman of Rothley Parish Council, Percy Hartshorn, visited the site and listened to our plans with the result that a programme of work was approved and financed by the council.

The ancient trees, most of them broken down under the weight of the hops, were pruned or dug out in autumn 2013 and the ground cleared of much of the debris. In January 2014 work started on laying the hawthorn hedge that remained and young hawthorn whips planted in the gaps. The hedge along the boundary of the Woodman's Stroke was cleared of debris and laid. An excellent job was done by Jamie Markee of UK Treework, Keyham.

Marion asked the Rothley Parish Council for permission to plant fruit trees as part of a Community Orchard and this was granted. Fruit trees look lovely when the blossom is out and provide a source of food, not just for the community, but also for the birds.

What to plant? A visit by Marion and Anita to Goscote Nurseries, Cossington, gave us some good ideas and with the help of their horticulturalist, Frances Hunt, we each picked a tree as the first steps to our village orchard.

Marion chose Apple 'Annie Elizabeth' which was always known as the Leicestershire Apple and Anita chose Plum 'Syston White' which is named after the nearby village of Syston.

On Wednesday 29th January 2014 the trees were planted in Bunney's Field with the help of Steve Mitchell. January 2014 was a very wet month with very little frost so a good time to be planting. A bag of tree compost was dug in to give them a good start.

These two fruit trees were a personal donation from Marion and Anita to the village and each cost £42.45 to include the compost, stake and ties. (In 100 years time when fruit trees either cost £250 each or more or there is no land to plant them in Rothley as we are totally smothered in houses then this might just be interesting information and part of our history.)

THE PLANTING CONTINUES........

Two further fruit trees were planted on the 5th February 2014 by Lynne Atkinson and Margaret Houghton. Passing by the field and taking an interest in the project both Lynne and Margaret immediately offered to donate a tree to continue with our Community Orchard. We were looking for another apple and a plum so 'Arthur Turner' and 'Greengage' were purchased from Goscote Nurseries and delivered for planting.

ROYALTY HAS ARRIVED!

We were delighted to receive a 'Royal' donation from Frank Toone of Goscote Nurseries Ltd and Mulberry 'Chelsea' (Syn: King James 1) was planted by Frances Hunt, one of their horticulturalists, assisted by Don Rushin, on the 21st February 2014.
The fascinating history of this black mulberry:
It is derived from a tree that existed in Swan Walk in the 17th century, now known as the Chelsea Physic Garden, during the time of King James I. During the 1939-1945 war the last remaining tree was about to be grubbed up to make way for an air raid shelter when cuttings were taken and this tree has survived ever since.
The fruit is unusally large and succulent, cropping early in life. An intensley rich flavour. Add sugar, microwave and pour over ice cream and even spread on toast!

CHERRIES AND MORE CHERRIES

On the 28th February 2014 Cherry 'Stella' was donated and planted by Margaret Rouse. This is the companion of Cherry 'Florence'. 'Stella' is a sweet cherry, unlike the 'Morello' which has a sharp taste and used in cooking.
On the 1st March 2014 Cherry 'Florence' was planted by four year old Florence who was delighted to be part of our community orchard project. May she enjoy many cherries in the years to come.

JAMES GRIEVE MEETS ANNIE ELIZABETH

On the 28th February 2014 we decided that 'Annie Elizabeth' would like a companion to improve her cropping ability so James Grieve was planted close by. This is a lovely eating apple and an older variety that deserves a place in our orchard.

TO COMPLETE THE EARLY SPRING PLANTING

On the 4th March 2014 the final planting during this season saw Crab Apple 'James Downie' and Sorbus 'Cardinal Royal' become part of the orchard. Planted by Anita Armstrong and Steve Mitchell this completes our programme for the early spring due to the weather conditions. It has been a very mild winter and root growth has started early which gave quite a short window for planting. The ground has been perfect with plenty of rain to follow the planting. We just now wait for the blossom.

SPRING BULBS

In 2015 we are looking forward to our orchard being full of narcissus thanks to the donation of bulbs from Shirley and Ian Redman, Anita Armstrong, Freda and Nev Baum and Rothley Parish Council. Planted by Anita and Marion with digging of holes by Steve.

APPLE 'ANNIE ELIZABETH'

The tree planting area. January 2014

Steve Mitchell preparing the hole for planting 'Annie Elizabeth'. January 29th 2014

Marion Vincent planting her apple 'Annie Elizabeth'. 29th January 2014

Apple 'Annie Elizabeth' January 29th 2014

Anita and Steve giving 'Annie Elizabeth' her stake. January 29th 2014

Newly planted 'Annie Elizabeth' January 29th 2014

PLUM 'SYSTON WHITE'

Anita Armstrong and Steve Mitchell preparing the hole for plum 'Syston White'. January 29th 2014

Anita positioning her 'Syston White'. January 29th 2014

Anita Armstrong planting her plum'Syston White'. January 29th 2014

Anita Armstrong planting her plum'Syston White'. January 29th 2014

Anita and Steve completing the planting of plum 'Syston White'. January 29th 2014

APPLE 'ARTHUR TURNER'

Lynne Atkinson planting Apple 'Arthur Turner February 5th 2014

Lynne planting her apple tree. February 5th 2014

Steve Mitchell helping Lynne to give it a good start with tree compost. February 5th 2014

Lynne gives the apple its final position with Anita holding the stake and Steve ready with the hammer. February 5th 2014

Apple 'Arthur Turner' proudly donated and planted by Lynne Atkinson. February 5th 2014

PLUM 'GREENGAGE'

PLUM 'GREENGAGE'

Margaret gets a determined grip of her plum tree. February 5th 2014

Yes, that's fine! February 5th 2014

Margaret (left) assisted by Anita and Stve getting Plum 'Greengage' into position. February 5th 2014

Plum 'Greengage' proudly donated and planted by Margaret Houghton. February 5th 2014

MULBERRY 'CHELSEA' (SYN: KING JAMES I)

Anita, Don and Frances deciding where to plant the Mulberry February 21st 2014

Frances getting ready with the spade. 21st February 2014

On February 21st 2014 Frances Hunt of Goscote Nurseries Ltd planting the Mulberry.

Frances Hunt delighted with her Mulberry tree with Don Rushin of Goscote Nurseries Ltd fixing the stake. February 21st 2014

With thanks to Frank Toone of Goscote Nurseries Ltd. for his generous donation to the Rothley Community Orchard and to Frances Hunt for her knowledge of fruit trees and assistance in their purchase. To find out more about Goscote Nurseries Ltd. please click on the following link:

CHERRY 'STELLA'

Margaret Rouse chooses the spot. February 2014

The planting begins. February 2014

Margaret gets busy with the tree compost to give 'Stella' a good start. February 2014

Cherry Tree 'Stella' planted by Margaret Rouse in February 2014

Steve and Anita making 'Stella' secure with stake and a tie with Margaret looking on. February 2014

APPLE 'JAMES GRIEVE'

Anita and Steve planting 'James Grieve' close to 'Annie Elizabeth'. February 2014

Anita and Steve complete the planting of James Grieve. February 2014

CHERRY 'FLORENCE'

Florence planting Cherry 'Florence' on March 1st 2014 assisted by Steve Mitchell

Wait until you pick your cherries, Florence!

Florence and her Mother, Amy,complete the planting of her Cherry 'Florence' on the 1st March 2014

CRAB APPLE 'JAMES DOWNIE' AND SORBUS 'CARDINAL ROYAL'

Crab Apple 'John Downie' planted 4th March 2014

Sorbus 'Cardinal Royal' planted 4th March 2014

PEAR 'CONCORDE'

Steve and Anita planting Pear 'Concorde' on behalf of Shirley and Ian Redman. 21st Nov 2014

Pear 'Concorde' donated by Shirley and Ian Redman. Planted by Steve and Anita. Nov 21st 2014

PEAR 'BETH'

Steve and Anita planting Pear 'Beth' on behalf of Shirley and Ian Redman. 21st Nov 2014

Pear 'Beth' donated by Shirley and Ian Redman. Planted by Steve and Anita. 21st Nov 2014

APPLE 'BRAMLEY'

Apple 'Bramley' in memory of Derek Hampson. Planted by Ellie Hampson, great-niece of Derek and her mother Isobel. 21st Nov 2014

Isobel and Ellie with the Apple 'Bramley' they planted in memory of Derek Hampson. 21st Nov 2014

Steve Mitchell and Anita Armstrong with Apple 'Bramley' in memory of their neighbour Derek Hampson

PLUM 'PURPLE CZAR'

Purple Plum 'Czar' being planted by Rita Prince. 21st Nov 2014

Purple Plum 'Czar' donated by Rita Prince. 21st Nov 2014

MULBERRY

Mulberry being planted by Steve. 21st Nov 2014

Mulberry donated by a Rothley resident. 21st Nov 2014

APPLE 'BUSH BRAMLEY'

Apple Bush Bramley being planted by Jan Smitten-Downes. 21st Nov 2014

Apple 'Bramley' Bush variety donated by Jan Smitten-Downes. 21st Nov 2014

APPLE 'DISCOVERY'

Apple 'Discovery' planted by Jill Anstock. March 4th 2016

Apple 'Discovery' donated ny Phil and Jill Anstock. March 4th 2016

LIST OF TREES PLANTED 2014 AND 2017

PLANTED IN 2014

Plum 'Syston'-Donated by Anita Armstrong and Steve Mitchell
Apple 'Annie Elizabeth'-Donated by Marion Vincent
Plum 'Greengage-Donated by Margaret Houghton
Apple 'Arthur Turner'-Donated by Lynne Atkinson
Mulberry 'King James'-Donated by Goscote Nurseries
Cherry 'Florence'-Planted by Florence and Amy
Cherry 'Stella'-Donated by Margaret Rouse
Apple 'James Grieve'
Malus 'John Downie'
Sorbus aucuparia (Rowan) 'Cardinal Royal'
Apple 'Bramley'-Planted by Isobel and Ellie Hampson. In memory of Derek Hampson
Pear 'Concorde'-Donated by Shirley and Ian Redman
Pear 'Beth'-Donated by Shirley and Ian Redman
Plum 'Purple Czar'-Donated by Rita Prince
Apple 'Bush Bramley'-Donated by Jan Smitten-Downs
Mulberry-Donated by a Rothley resident
Walnut-Grown from a nut from a mature Rothley Walnut tree
Apple 'Discovery' Donated by Phil and Jill Anstock

PLANTED IN 2017

Cider Apple 'Michelin' Bush
Cider Apples x 4 'Kingston Black'- Bush
Crab Apple
The above 2017 trees donated by Goscote Nurseries Ltd and received with many thanks.

WHAT ABOUT DIGGING THE HOLES!

The row of fruit trees now planted and we look forward to the blossom in spring. February 2014

With many thanks to Steve Mitchell for digging all the holes, shifting bags of compost, assisting with the planting and hammering in the stakes. February 2014

WHO DID THE HEDGE LAYING?

Professional hedge layer Jamie Markee of UK Treework has done a splendid job with the neglected hawthorn hedge. Jamie employs a team of four in his company based in Keyham, Leics.

Jamie Markee working on the hedge opposite the Dutchman's Wall. February 5th 2014

Jamie hammering in the stakes. February 5th 2014

Jamie working between the newly planted hawthorn whips. 5th February 2014

Steve Mitchell has kept Jamie supplied with coffee during the wet weather of January and February 2014

This is going to vastly improve the neglected hedge and will look lovely in the spring when the hawthorn whips start to shoot.

Laying the hedge adjoining the Woodman's Stroke February 2014

Laying the hedge adjoining the Woodman's Stroke February 2014

Laying the hedge adjoining the Woodman's Stroke February 2014

Looking to the Dutchman's Wall with the Woodman's Stroke to the right. February 2014

Looking from the entrance opposite the Dutchman's Wall to Rothley Brook. February 2014

Woodman's Stroke to the left and looking to Rothley Brook. February 2014

The work to this hedgerow is vastly improving Bunney's Field and the Rothley Image. February 2014

WHO CLEARED THE CHANNEL?

Brian Mee Associates came in with the digger to clear the channel which was choked with reed mace and brambles. It was a very smelly job! February 2014

The channel is clearing very well and a frog was seen in it on the 5th March 2014 so that is very encouraging. There was very little water to be seen before it was cleared so nowhere for a frog to explore. However, when the water level is high it will run under the field to Rothley Brook so any frog spawn may not survive the currents

The channel is clearing very well and a frog was seen in it on the 5th March 2014 so that is very encouraging. There was very little water to be seen before it was cleared so nowhere for a frog to explore. However, when the water level is high it will run under the field to Rothley Brook so any frog spawn may not survive the currents

A NEW GATE

FROM THIS IN 2011.......

...TO THIS IN 2014

THE RIBBON WAS CUT IN AUGUST 2014
l to r: Maxine Court, Monica Bunney, Ann Harmer, Rose Squire, Joan Widdowson, John Harmer

Mrs Monica Bunney

Kevin Harrison who made the gate.
Kevin has his roots in Rothley and now works from Sileby Mill as Stowfledge Engineering.

VE-VJ

The VE/VJ Day committee organised events in Rothley close to the days that marked the end of hostilities for WWII. The Bunney's Field gate is their final contribution to Rothley with some members of the committee shown at the opening in August 2014.

To find out how Bunney's Field looked before we started to take it from a 'Grot Spot' to a 'Beauty Spot' please click on the following link:

For more information about Bunney's Field please click on the following link

WITH THANKS TO ROTHLEY PARISH COUNCIL FOR AGREEING TO THE ORCHARD BEING PLANTED AND FINANCING THE WORK NEEDED TO CLEAR THE SITE ; TO ANITA ARMSTRONG AND STEVE MITCHELL FOR A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF WORK PREPARING THE SITE, PLANTING TREES AND DONATION OF TREES; TO RESIDENTS OF ROTHLEY FOR INDIVIDUAL DONATION OF TREES; TO SHIRLEY AND IAN REDMAN FROM GREETHAM, HALIFAX, WEST YORKSHIRE WHO HEARD OF THE IDEA AND DONATED THREE TREES AND 35KG OF DAFFODILS; TO EVERYONE WHO GAVE SUPPORT TO OUR PROJECT.

THANKS ALSO TO AUDREY BENSON AND CAROLINE EGERTON FOR THEIR DONATION OF BULBS IN 2015.

SPECIAL THANKS TO CORTS HARDWARE FOR DONATIONS OF BEDDING PLANTS THROUGHOUT THE YEARS 2014/2015.

IT HAD LONG BEEN AN IDEA OF MINE TO PLANT A COMMUNITY ORCHARD AND IT HAS NOW BECOME A REALITY. IT HAS BEEN MOST ENJOYABLE WORKING WITH ANITA AND STEVE EVERY WEEK AND WATCHING THE PROJECT DEVELOP. IT JUST SHOWS WHAT THREE PEOPLE CAN ACHIEVE TO IMPROVE A VILLAGE.

MARION VINCENT

EASTER SUNDAY APRIL 5th 2015