London National Park City Week

p20160522130310The first ever London National Park City Week starts this Saturday, did you know?

Check out their website at for full details.

Three free events in particular stand out due to their proximity to our orchard trail, but with over 280 events in total, there should be one for anyone and an ice cream!

Ealing to Richmond Walk, Saturday 21st July, 10am – 1pm

Meet outside Ealing Broadway Tube/rail station, W5 2NU, and join the Ramblers for a five-mile walk. Take in Ealing’s delightful smaller parks – Walpole, Lammas, Blondin, Boston Manor – and then enjoy the Grand Union Canal to Brentford Lock. Ends at Richmond tube/ National Rail Station. A free event, just turn up.

Gurnell to Greenford Greenway guided walk, Saturday 28 July 2018, 2pm – 4pm.

Meet at Gurnell Leisure centre car park W13 0AL for a 3.5 km guided walk alongside the River Brent and nearby meadows, the site of the proposed new Gurnell to Greenford Greenway project funded by the Mayor’s Green Capital grant fund. You can view plans and find out about the work that Thames 21 and Ealing Council are doing to improve rivers and the environment.

Osterley Park to Brent Lodge Park Walk, Saturday 28th July. 2pm – 4:30pm

Meet at Osterley Underground Station TW7 4PU, and join the Ramblers for a 4 mile stroll through some of West London’s most attractive green spaces including a Georgian country estate, canal Grade 1 listed railway viaduct, maze and zoo. Ends at Hanwell Railway Station.


Fun At The Piggeries


What’s going on at the Piggeries Orchard today, I hear you ask. I am glad you asked.

The park rangers will bring their wood chipper on site and help us to chip the pile of tree branches into our very own artisan woodchip used for local self-sustained mulching.

Join us from 10:30 today, Saturday 14-July-2018, at the Piggeries Orchard and help getting this done in the shortest time possible. There’ll be opportunities to feed branches into the chipper, to deploy the woodchip along the hedges and around the trees on site. For those who favour lighter duties, there’s no shortage of nettles, brambles or horsetail to pull, snip, squish and bash. We hope to retire to the Fox for refreshments in the early afternoon.

Long trousers and sturdy shoes are highly recommended. Please bring ear defenders, safety glasses and thick gloves if you have them.

Scything Training

dscn2660We have cutting edge news: We succeeded in booking Scything Master Clive Leeke for a one day scything training in September! Clive is a master of the trade, an experienced scything tutor and an inspiring enthusiast.

There will be an introduction followed by practical exercises in one of the centrally located orchards. All tools will be provided for the day, but you’re welcome to bring your own scythe if you have one.

Scything Training Course
September 15, 2018 9:30 to 15:30 

Meet at The Fox, Green Lane.

Register now! We have a very limited number of places available. We ask for a £15 per person booking fee to cover part of our cost. We’ll chip in the rest. Members of Hanwell and Norwood Green Orchard Trail enjoy priority booking, but anyone is welcome to join the waiting list.

The booking fee is payable immediately and seats are allocated on a first-paid-first-served basis. Unfortunately we can only refund in the event of your cancellation if we can find another person to take your seat.

Meet us during our weekly Tuesday evening activities and social get-together to book and make yourself known. For the weekly changing location of the 19:00 meeting point see our volunteer schedule, otherwise look out for us from approximately 20:30 at The Fox. When in doubt, ask for the guys with the scythe 😉

Alternatively book through our contact form. We will confirm your booking and provide payment details in response to your booking.

Open, Opener, Openest

IMG_20180626_182540At the risk of repeating myself: The Piggeries Orchard is now officially open!

We sort-of opened it when planting the fruit trees on February 10th, 2018.

Richard “Scissors” H cut the ribbon and really officially opened it on June 2nd, 2018: Time to Celebrate.

I do now declare it truly and officially and complete opened, as open as can be, and I promise it shall not be any more open: the noticeboard is in!

The noticeboard was the last remaining item from our list of deliverables. The sign, albeit not the one made from locally grown oak envisioned, was installed this past week. The installation was complete just in time before the London in Bloom inspection. Such is the way of miracles and wonders!

From the bottom of our watering buckets, wheelbarrows, wellies and from the bottom of our hearts: Thank you so much for supporting this project! It has been the most delightful journey so far.

We appreciate loads of positive feedback whenever we work within the Piggeries Orchard. Many people stop by and share their appreciation. Thank you! It keeps is going. It really does, and it will keep us going well beyond this official completion of the projects. Plans are flying high and wild. Always.





Yellow Rattle Harvest

dscn4063Volunteers have been harvesting Yellow Rattle seed (rhinanthus minorat St Margaret’s Open space this week in our latest effort to manage the meadows and orchards organically.

Yellow Rattle is a herbaceous annual plant with yellow flowers. It is also a parasite to grass or other neighbouring plants, withdrawing nutrients from their root system. In doing so, Yellow Rattle restricts grass growth and increases biodiversity.

The effects are clearly visible where Yellow Rattle is in abundance; grass is less vigorous and other plants such as white clover get a chance, too.

We plan to sow the seed in autumn at St Margaret’s Orchard and The Piggeries Orchard, improving biodiversity and saving ourselves some hay making work.


Ox-Eye Daisy

ox-eyed-daisyOx-Eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) is widespread across the meadows along the orchard trail, and we are lucky to have them not only for their beauty but also for their record-breaking pollen production, which attracts bees to the site.

I like how Wikipedia describes this wonder of nature in scientific terms yet maintains a notion of the wonder:

Leucanthemum vulgare was top-ranked for pollen production per floral unit sampled at the level of the entire capitulum, with a value of 15.9 ± 2μl, in a UK study of meadow flowers. The corn poppy, Papaver rhoeas, was top-ranked for the per flower rate at 13.3 ± 2.8μl.

We were surprised to see pollen measured by volume but otherwise enjoy both description and display.


Spring Clean Finals

IMG_20180527_101322Please join us tomorrow

Saturday 9-June, 11:00 at The Piggeries Orchard (map)

to finish the spring clean in time for the London in Bloom

There’ll be something to do for everyone. You can dig or snip bramble roots, pull horsetail, cut bindweed, collect rubble, rake grass. Or just come along to take a look, have a chat, or join us for a drink at the end.

Please dress appropriately; long trousers, closed shoes and gloves are highly recommended due to the mixed vegetation and uneven ground.

We expect to be done within two hours, and we are counting on you to do it!

Time To Celebrate

piggeries-openingIt’s time to celebrate the Piggeries Orchard official opening!

Please come join our opening party and casual bring-your-own spring picnic

Saturday June 2nd from 12:00

The Piggeries Orchard (map)

Dignitaries have been invited, fine weather has been requested, the speech is prepared. All that is missing is you!

Bring a friend, bring a smile, bring yourself. Bring some food or drink to the sharing table if you like, but please bring no more than your party would consume and be prepared to take packaging and leftovers back so that we can keep waste to a minimum.

The Piggeries Orchard is wheelchair accessible from Studley Grange Road.

Please be aware of the proximity to the Grand Union Canal when you bring young children, dogs or ducks.



It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

DSCN2324Songs have been sung about the fact that it’s the most wonderful time of the year. The song does not refer to spring when life returns in abundance, or summer when living is easy, or autumn when we harvest much of the year’s produce. It is of course about Christmas but for me, right now most certainly is one of the most wonderful times of the year.

Many trees are still in flower and the meadows are a sea of green, waving in the breeze and dotted with yellow, white, blue and purple flowers. Life emerges in abundance and with vigour wherever you look. There’s almost no holding back on the nettles or bramble, Giant Hogweed or indeed on apples, cherries, pears, plums or quinces, or anything else.

Why not explore the orchard trail this weekend?

Alone and in peaceful silence, with friends, with dogs, with kids. We have tried all these variants and everyone came out thumbs up and with a smile, every time.

You can view or download our brochure here for guidance.

You will also notice that the spring meadow cutting is under way across the orchard trail, an important and invigorating step in managing a meadow’s annual life cycle. Volunteers are always welcome!  We offer perfect opportunities to work up a sweat, to get stung, to get a suntan, to do something good, to be part of it. And we are very nice people (according to us). Why not join our ranks, once, or twice, or sometimes, or regularly?

Not Funny

not-a-deerThis is not funny. Not funny at all.

In my weekly desperate search for this week’s article, I turned to orchard jokes. A desperate move, I know. I sampled a few of the suggested sites and read a number of jokes. Not a muscle twitched, no grin emerged, but quite a few eyes started rolling. I gave myself a meal and a drink, then read some more. Still nothing.

No matter where my personal humour levels rank between 0 and 100 from your standpoint of view, surely there has to be one truly funny orchard joke that needs to be remembered for all times?

I look forward to reading your offerings. The comments on this post are open for 14 days after publication.