For a small Suffolk village (Bredfield lies on the outskirts of Woodbridge) we are already lucky – a beautiful Church, a village hall and local shop, recreation ground with tennis courts and children’s play area, an excellent pub and even a thriving bowls club…. (the list goes on). In 2012, when we heard a small Glebe field was on offer for sale by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury, we set a target to buy it if possible. We wanted everybody in the village to have the chance to witness nature in a quiet, contemplative place and to create something together to take into the future by planting orchard trees.
In what seemed an incredibly short space of time we secured funding from Viridor, Suffolk County Council and our Councillor’s locality budget – we completed the sale in the summer of 2013. In the next few months’ volunteers were recruited, fundraising events organised, orchard trees planted, benches bought and even an award won!
The list of jobs was impressive. But so was the enthusiasm and energy of the volunteers. All this harnessed and toned by people who really knew what they were doing. We had no idea that Suffolk had such strengths in terms of experts to guide us. We met Angela Jones, our own community conservation adviser from Suffolk Wildlife Trust. Events were run in the Meadow and within weeks of starting the project children were making and enjoying haw ketchup, elderberry vinegar and nettle soup!
Everyone had a chance to learn new crafts and skills – including grafting and pruning with the Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group, led by Paul Read. The Group offered support in all matters of the orchard trees – in all weathers too I recall!
By Helen Young