A bumper crop at Hucking Estate!
Villagers help to keep orchard in good shape
The apple trees at Hucking Estate are laden with fruit this year, thanks to the hard work of our lovely volunteers. They have been busy pruning, weeding and mulching, and planting new fruit trees. They have learned how to repair trees ring-barked by rabbits and made sure the youngest trees had enough water during the recent drought. They also planted a new line of hedging by the bridleway.
Hucking Estate is tucked away in a pretty hamlet within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The volunteers planted 85 fruit trees in 2012 to create a community orchard. They came up with the idea of having trees on the site of previous orchard near St Margaret’s Church (12th century), and we happily agreed. We also planted mixed hedging along the boundary and they added yellow rattle to the sward.
We chose several varieties of apple, pear, plum, gage, cherry and quince and most of the trees are growing nicely. However, a few of trees have died over the years and one of the pictures below shows Lead Volunteer, Rosemary Capper- Ritchie holding a replacement plum tree which was planted in January.
The volunteers are wonderful ambassadors for Hucking Estate and enjoy helping in the orchard. Lead Volunteer, Rosemary said, “The trees are getting established and wildlife is creeping in. The community orchard has generated interest from all the Hucking residents and has had a positive effect. The eight of us are really pleased to be Woodland Trust volunteers.”
John Easton, a local horticultural training expert and former fruit grower, has trained the volunteers how to prune and look after the trees so they are in safe hands. Over 180,000 native trees and 1.5km of hedgerow have been planted on the Estate over the past 20 years, creating important habitat for wildlife. Hucking Estate also has areas of ancient woodland and you will see sheep grazing on chalk grassland if you come here to explore.
Contact: Clive Steward (Site Manager)