Let the Tree Tending Season begin…

Can’t help myself, I feel very excited about the start of Tree Tending Evenings every year. So much to look forward to; It means Spring is here, and we will be able to stay out and enjoy the evenings in the orchards.

We hope to see many of you this year. Remember, there are many tasks (big and small) you can do in an orchard. You will learn on the job. And if you don’t feel like working… it’s perfectly alright to join us for a chat or just for the company. We are a friendly, international bunch and always happy to meet new people.

Dates for the diary

Upcoming Tree Tending Evenings. We alternate between Mondays and Wednesdays to give as many people, as possible, an opportunity to join. If you want to receive a weekly -email- reminder, please register here. We collect tools from the allotment next to The Piggeries Orchard at 19:00 and work till dark. Most of us will go to The Fox after, but there’s no obligation to do so.

Wednesday 26th April

Monday 1st May

Wednesday 10th May

Saturday 13th May (start 10:30)

Monday 15th May

Wednesday 24th May

Pictures Dagmar Gauweiler / Mirjam van Bentum

Winter is nearly over and pruning is nearly done.

The winter months are usually quiet in our orchards, there are only a few winter-tasks to be done. The last two months, we have planted some trees in Blackberry Corner, on the Elthorne Terraces and in Osterley Lock Orchard, to fill up gaps caused by fire and disease, . We have also done most of the pruning of the apple and pear trees. -The plums and other soft fruits have to wait till Summer before we prune them.-

Dates for the diary

This Saturday March 11th we will try to finish all pruning tasks. Please come to the allotment next to The Piggeries around 10:00 o’clock to collect tools.

Since the second Saturday in April (Saturday April 8th ) is the Saturday before Easter we moved our working Saturday to the 15th of April. We’ll be mulching, watering or weeding … all tasks depending on the weather.

Sometime after Easter, we will start our weekly, evening sessions again, beginning with a tidy up of the orchards closest to The Piggeries. Please register as a volunteer if you want updates on where we’ll be working.

Winter tasks

Let us start with wishing you a very happy and healthy 2023. Hanwell and Norwood Green Orchard Trail Volunteers will continue with what they’ve done for the last 8 years; maintaining a trail of orchards along the Grand Union Canal to help make Hanwell a great place to walk and enjoy the outdoors.


On a sunny and cold day last December, our group of dedicated volunteers came together to help care for some of our orchards along the canal. Armed with wheelbarrows full of woodchip donated to us by Ealing Park Rangers, they set out to mulch around the trees in St. Margaret’s Orchard, Bernd’s Orchard and The Piggeries. The woodchip will help retain moisture during dry periods and suppress weeds, also feeding the trees to create the best possible environment to grow strong and healthy.


Our orchards are a living testament to the impact that a group of dedicated individuals can have on their community. And you can be part of that …

We can always use more help to maintain our orchards and start new environmental projects. So if you want to know more…, just register as a volunteer on this website and receive updates of what we do and how you can help. Our planting day would be a great starting point to get introduced to Orchard life.

Planting Day 14th January 2023

This year, we will be planting some trees in Blackberry Corner, to replace the trees that got damaged during the fire last summer. If the weather holds, we will also do some pruning and other maintenance work. We will fill in some spaces and prune trees on the 11th of February in Osterley Lock Orchard , where, because of clearing work done by the Ealing Rangers, there is additional space for some apples and plums.

Special Thanks

We would like to say a special thank you to someone from Hanwell (sorry we didn’t get your name) who donated a beautiful apple tree (Malus Domestica ‘Pixie’). Currently heeled in, it will be planted on our next planting event on the 14th January.

Dates for the diary

For all events: Starting point is the allotments next to The Piggeries at 10:00 o’clock.

Saturday 14 January 2023: Planting and Pruning Blackberry Corner and meadows

Saturday 11 February 2023: Planting and pruning Osterley Lock and Elthorne Triangles

Saturday 11 March 2023: tasks to be announced

Annual General Meeting



Notice is hereby given of the Annual General Meeting of the Hanwell & Norwood Green Orchard Trail, which will be held on

Wednesday 2nd November, 2022
72, St Margaret’s Road, Hanwell W7 2HF.
Start-time 19:30

All members of the Hanwell & Norwood Green Orchard Trail are entitled to attend and vote at the AGM. Please email hanwellorchard@gmail.com to confirm your attendance. There is no charge for attendance at the AGM.

By order of the Management Committee
Mirjam van Bentum
Hanwell & Norwood Green Orchard Trail

Wait…. Is it Autumn already?

We can’t believe it’s the end of Summer already. Sorry for keeping a little quiet over the last months. We have been so busy,…. just couldn’t find time to post about the jobs we did.

Greening together The Ealing rangers have been invaluable in supporting us with advise on creating and maintaining our orchards. It is great to see that this is recognised by the Council. A big thank you to ‘Around Ealing’ for using one of our flagship orchards ‘The Piggeries’ in a lovely article on greening together. The video, accompanying the article, can be watched here !

Pictures below show 1) Aerial view Piggeries site 1951 2) Piggeries map 1960 with current situation combined 3) Winter 2016/2017 4) Summer 2022

Summer Cut Over the summer months, we give all our orchards a summer cut. Most years we had to do quite a bit of weeding before it was time to cut all the grass, but this years drought stopped the weeds from getting in the way too much. So during our work-evenings we cleared around trees, watered our younger trees and did some litter picking when necessary. In August, when most wildflowers had set seed -or when the fire-risk became too high-, we cut the whole meadow in one go and removed the cuttings. This practice, which is common in wildflower meadow management, enhances bio diversity by creating a habitat less favourable for grasses, brambles and nettles. To connect more with other local nature conservation groups, we helped cutting Perivale Wood wildflower meadow and the cuttings were feed for the cows on Horsenden Farm.

Dates for the diary

Saturday work morning: 10th September 10:30 at the allotment next to The Piggeries. We’ll split the group, depending on numbers. If you want to get familiar with our most Western part of the trail (30 min walk from the allotment) this is your chance.

Monday work evening:12th September 6:30 at the allotment next to The Piggeries. -Tasks to be announced-.

Upcoming Saturday work mornings 8th October and 12th November

Not all pictures were made by Hangot.

Winter’s gone…. Spring is here

After what felt like a long winter, we are more then ready to start the orchard season again.

Winter tasks

Although the winter felt long, it was a relatively mild and dry one. This meant that we could do most of our planned tasks this winter. In February, we spent our working Saturday pruning our apples and pears. We also planted a Bramley tree in Bernd’s orchard and replaced some trees in the meadows that were vandalised. In Blackberry Corner we extended the existing hedge, that we started two years ago. For this hedge we used whips given to us by I dig trees. The hedge will be an important addition to the mixed habitat that’s already in place. All the hedge plants are fruit bearing and beneficial to small mammals, birds and insects as hiding place and food source.


Our March working Saturday was all about spreading mulch. Mulching is a great way to slowly release nutrients to the roots of trees and at the same time suppressing weeds. We enjoyed the sunshine and blue skies and being outside made us really aware of the first signs of Spring. Our Apricot in St. Margaret’s orchard is in full bloom and the blackthorn hedges at The Piggeries are starting to turn white with blossom.

Dates for the diary

Please feel free to join us for any workday or evening. Even if it’s just to say hello, we’re really happy to have a chat and explain what we’re doing.

Saturday workday April : 9th April

We’ll be starting our regular working evenings in April (exact date to be announced)

To receive updates on tasks and where the volunteers will be working each week, please register for our volunteer email list here.

Give your tree a pint of cider.

This year, every garden- or Christmas program seemed to mention ‘wassailing’… Not knowing much about the customs around it, I decided to have a browse. This article is a compilation of some of the information I found. Full articles here: How to wassail correctly. and here: CultureUK_Wassailing

What Is Wassailing?

Wassailing has been associated with both Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. It was an ancient ceremony that involved singing and drinking to the health of trees. It was also a way of passing on good wishes among family and friends.

Wassailing was originally a pagan practice: ensuring the fertility of fruit trees by offering them mulled cider, and hanging pieces of the toast in the branches. The celebrations vary from region to region, but generally involve a wassail King and Queen leading the assembled group of revellers, comprising the farmers, farm workers and general villagers, in a noisy procession from one orchard to the next. In each orchard the wassailers gather round the biggest and best tree, and as a gift to the tree spirits, the Queen places a piece of wassail soaked toast into its branches, accompanied by songs such as;

“Apple tree, apple tree we all come to wassail thee,
Bear this year and next year to bloom and blow,
Hat fulls, cap fulls, three cornered sacks fills…”

The wassailers then move on to the next orchard; singing, shouting, banging pots and pans, and even firing shotguns, generally making as much noise as possible in order to both waken the sleeping tree spirits, and also to frighten off any evil demons that may be lurking in the branches.

‘Wassail’, from Old Norse Ves heill, is a toast: ‘your health’, to which the answer is ‘drinc hael’: ‘I drink to your health.’ A toast is a piece of toasted bread put into a drink as a sop which you could eat but might also act as a filter for the solid matter in the bottom of the cup/glass/goblet. If you toast someone, you raise your cup/glass/goblet with the toast in it to him/her and say ‘Wassail!’

We would like to raise a glass and wish you all a Happy New Year


and lots of happy hours in the orchards.

Here’s a toast to seeing everyone in person again soon.

Dates for the diary:

Working Saturday January: 15th of January (moved from the 8th)

Working Saturday February: 12th of February

You are all invited…

It’s a quiet time in the orchards, so let’s have a……

XMAS get together!

Saturday 11th December

from 19:30

17 Cambridge Road

Hanwell W7 3PA

Feel free to bring something for the sharing table.

Hope to see you all

Annual General Meeting




Notice is hereby given of the Annual General Meeting of the Hanwell & Norwood Green Orchard Trail, which will be held on 

Wednesday 3th November, 2021

 72, St Margaret’s Road, Hanwell W7 2HF.

Start-time 19:30

All members of the Hanwell & Norwood Green Orchard Trail are entitled to attend and vote at the AGM. Please email hanwellorchard@gmail.com to confirm your attendance. There is no charge for attendance at the AGM.

By order of the Management Committee
Mirjam van Bentum

Hanwell & Norwood Green Orchard Trail

The end of Summer

Although our weekly, tree tending evenings had to stop because of fading light, our work is nowhere finished (is it ever?). Luckily for you, we’ve got some interesting events lined up for the coming months and we hope to see many of our members attending one or even more.

Apple day at Horsenden Farm

This Appleday -Saturday the 25th-, we’ll be at one of the stalls to tell you all about the plans for a new community orchard at Horsenden Farm. Orchards are a priority habitat for biodiversity, providing food and shelter for a wealth of wildlife. Working in an orchard reduces stress and anxiety. We are available this Saturday to answer all your questions on all things orchard, our orchard trail and the benefits for nature and people.

Saturday Orchard working days

The second Saturday of every month (except December) is ‘working Saturday’. Usually, we take on a task that needs more hands and time than our evening sessions. If you want to know where we are working, please register here Volunteer Email and you will receive an email with all the information, closer to the date. The planned activities will sometimes change last minute because of weather or other unforeseen circumstances and our volunteers email is the best way to stay in the loop. The planned dates are the following;

  • Saturday 9th October (Blackberry Corner),
  • Saturday 13th November (renewing labels, recce of trees and pruning needed)
  • Saturday 8th January 2022 (Pruning / Mulching)
  • Saturday 12th February 2022 (Pruning / Mulching)
  • Saturday 12th March (to be announced)

Annual General Meeting 2021

It’s nearly that time of the year again, the time for our genuinely important and not quite so terribly serious AGM

 Wednesday 3th November, 2021

 at 72, St Margaret’s Road, Hanwell W7 2HF.

Start-time 19:30

I am happy to announce that this is our fifth AGM. None of the founding members expected the project to fail quickly, but I suppose we all share some pride in the fact that we made it so far, and the project still is very much alive and ticking after 7 years.

All members of the Hanwell & Norwood Green Orchard Trail are entitled to attend and vote at the AGM. Come along and cast your vote, share some nibbles, thoughts and suggestions, catch up with the latest plans, craziest ideas and help us continue to function as an organisation. (Please email hanwellorchard@gmail.com to confirm your attendance. There is no charge for attendance at the AGM.)