People’s Republic of Coton Hill

 

Coton Hill Roundup March 2012

Allotments:

The new allotments down Corporation Lane are now fully operational! The site is fully fenced, the shed is up, and the roadway, parking area and gates are now fully sorted and in place. Although not all the plots are yet taken the new ‘allotmenteers’ are busy getting down to it. The community is broadly represented; even the land lord of the Woody pub has one! If anyone is interested in taking one of the few remaining allotments contact Phil and Libby: 01743 231985.

Everyone reports what a lovely atmosphere there is, the allotments are also in a beautiful spot although only 10 minutes from the town centre one feels as if one is in the middle of the countryside. There is space left aside for a community garden so watch this space.

Coton Crescent Energy competition:

This started out as an idea to have a competition between the houses on one side of the street planning to have a competition with the neighbours on the other side of the street to see which side of the street was producing the least carbon. In the end their wasn’t sufficient enthusiasm for a competion – some felt that it would be intrusive and that it might cause consternation rather than cooperation. In the end Simon Ross from the Marches Energy Agency offered to do ‘case histories’ for 5 households in the street to see what each household was already doing, would like to do, comparing our bills and our savings. Ultimately we were able to share our findings with other people living in the street. The Houses in Coton Crescent are approximately 100 years old with solid walls. The Crescent is also in a conservation area. Off the back of the Case Histories, Simon Ross suggested that we put in an application to the ‘Leaf’ grant funding. The Leaf funding has been designed to provide information for the Govn. proposed ‘Green Deal’. Each of the 5 household got quotes to have what we felt would be most useful for our houses to cut carbon and our bills. We were successful in our application. However, the funders only really wante to give money for exterior solid wall insulation. A couple of households are going to have this work done, money was also awarded for low energy lightbulbs and weather exchangers. The grant funding has a very short turn around despite only announcing the fund in December the Government wants the works to be complete by the end of March! Unfortunately this won’t happen as full planning permission is required for the exterior solid wall insulation. The households that took part in the study will be available for viewing in Transition Towns ‘Green Doors’ event on the weekend of the 24th/25th of March.

Coton Hill Youth Club

Coton Hill Youth Club (as it is currently called likely to change soon) will open its doors on Thursday the 19th of April at the Greenfields bowling Club at the bottom of Greenfields St/Falstaff St. There hasn’t been much provision for the Youth of the Coton Hill/Greenfields/Herongate area and a group of local parents (mostly Mum’s) have got together to start the Youth Club. We will have to see what the children want but the youth club hopes to get involved with the local allotments and other Green initiatives in the area. If anyone has any ideas for youth in the Transition Town theme that they would like to deliver to our Youth then please contact Claire Kirby (claire@4-legs-good.co.uk).

Community Orchard:

If anyone is interested in getting involved with this project please contact Claire Kirby (claire@4-legs-good.co.uk).

Introduction

In 2011, a request was made by residents of Coton Hill to look into establishing an orchard on the sloping land adjacent to Coton Hill Community Woodland. This is currently low interest grass land, although it was grazed during summer 2011 in an attempt to improve biodiversity. As the land here is dominated by Ragwort and Thistles, and on such a steep gradient, establishing a good quality meadow habitat is not possible. The site is therefore ideal for siting fruit trees, and efforts to improve the quality of the remaining grassland by grazing can continue.

An orchard managed in a traditional way will greatly improve the biodiversity of the area, as well as providing an opportunity for the local community to get involved in looking after a countryside site, and hopefully take on the practical side of managing the orchard.

Establishment

An area of approx. 2000m2 will be flailed with pedestrian mowers in late September 2012 to allow easy planting and remove weeds. This area can then be stockproofed with fencing, with access allowed through a gate or railed section in the southern corner. Planting can take place anytime between November and February, and will include the following:

Pears- 4 total

Black Worcester x2

Pitmaston Duchess x2 Both Worcs varieties.

 

Apples- 12 total

Genet Moyle (Cooker, very old – 1600s although some say 1400s. Herefords or Shrops) x2

Gladstone (Dessert, Worcs) x2

Herefordshire Pomeroy (Dessert, Herefords) x2

Sandlin Duchess (Dessert, Worcs) x2

Yellow Ingestrie (Dessert, Shrops) X2

Edward VII (Cooker, Worcs) X2

 

The pears will be planted in the northern section of the orchard as they grow larger than the apples and will not shade them as much in this location.

The trees will require guards to protect from rabbits, and wooden stakes for support.

A plan of spacing and layout is available.

Costs

The residents group at Coton Hill or STC will apply for Local Joint Committee funding for the trees and materials for fencing. The LJC meets in November, and applications for funding must be in by mid September.

The trees will be sourced from Colwall Orchard Group, who not only beat the prices of other nurseries, but have given free advice on varieties and rootstocks to suit the landscape and management of the site. Orders can be placed any time during the winter as the trees are held in stock.

The total cost of trees will be approx. £240 including VAT

The total cost of fencing materials, guards and stakes will be £400 including VAT. These materials can be reused, as the fence will only need to be in place for a few years whilst the trees mature.

Total estimated cost-  £620

Management

Management for the first few years would consist of cutting and raking vegetation between the trees at least twice during the summer.

Once the trees have matured, they would require some occasional pruning.

Eventually the fencing can be removed and the grazing stock can keep the areas between the trees open.

If the project is successful, further planting may take place in the future.

Latest News

We planted the orchard on Sunday the 27th of January.  Matthew Willcoxon from the Town did most of the work before the planting day and his plan is below.  We planted 4 pears and 12 apple trees.  The funding came through the local joint committee and was about £1000.  Matthew and the town council fenced the plot because the site is grazed by cattle.  There are also a lot of rabbits on the site so we had to have rabbit guards.

Despite the snow in the preceding week the morning of the 27th dawned sunny and warm with no snow!  About 20 people came along on the day to plant the trees.  Although the day had been advertised further, nearly everyone was from Coton Crescent apart from one family from Greenfields.  It was a life enhancing experience.

We are going to need to look after the trees and maintain the site and those of us who were there on the day are hoping to sort that out amongst ourselves. Some of us are hoping to plant some other types of fruit on the site at some point and we are planning a bench and a sign.   We are looking forward to making cider from the fruit!