This is an excellent time to rummage around the cupboard, get the old shoebox of photos and contemplate just how far Osterley Lock Orchard has come in just five years, but with the help of many, many, volunteer hours.
Our work hour statistics don’t reach all the way back to the beginnings, but an estimated 500 volunteer hours were spend at Osterley Lock Orchard since the start, not counting planning, preparation or taking of post-activity refreshments.
Everything begun with a site inspection June 13th, 2015. The site was completely overgrown except for a small picnic spot covered in litter, broken picnic table and remains of BBQ fires.
A joint effort of Canal and Rivers Trust volunteers and the park rangers provided the initial clearing October 15th, 2015.
We planted the front orchard January 30th, 2016.
Clearing of the back part begun December 17th, 2016, on a rather damp day, alongside the planting of 1000 native flower bulbs. Site care and maintenance has been an ongoing effort ever since. (Event invitation, more photos)
February 4th, 2017, brought the addition of 17 fruit trees to the rear of the orchard (event invitation, more photos), quickly followed by the installation of bird and bat boxes.
Osterley Lock Orchard now has 29 fruit trees, second only to Blackberry Corner Orchard with a collection of 44 fruit trees across the field. We give it ongoing care and maintenance with many Tuesday evenings and quite a few Saturday activities to help establish and maintain a clean, healthy and bio-diverse habitat and orchard.
Many small events followed, trying to keep Nettles and Burdock at bay, look after the fruit trees and keep the paths across the site clear and usable.
The most recent event at this time of writing was the spring clean at March 14th, 2020. A super volunteer turnout, assisted by the park rangers and their big boy toys. We coppiced and cleared to bring more light, airflow and clear lines of sight to improve the orchard site for plants, wildlife and humans alike.
(See the event invitation, report with photos).
Our heartfelt and warm Thank you! to everyone who helped with this project so far. We look forward to continued events in this and other parts of the orchard trail once the current exceptional conditions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic are a thing of the past.