Allied Forces

1454758625797Our March Saturday of Orchard Love is coming up soon. Thankfully there isn’t much work along the orchard trail right now, so why not help out our friends from Southall Transition with their big planting day for the Southall Orchard Project?

Please come help plant the Jubilee Park Orchard on Saturday 10 March 2018, 10:30 – 14:30.

They will supply tools, refreshments and the Mayor of Ealing. All you need do is let them know that you are coming (please register here), wear sturdy footwear and dress appropriate for the weather and the occasion.

(photo by Southall Transition)


The Busy Trap

IMG_20180210_120943686_HDROnce again, we felt into it: we were almost too busy to take pictures at last week’s 2018 tree planting, can you believe it? You’d think we’d know better by now.

First we were too busy getting started, sorting 38 trees and bundles of hedges, tools and volunteers out. Then we were too busy planting trees and hedges in two planting parties covering the entire stretch between Osterley Lock and Blackberry Corner. Then we were too busy finishing the job with tree planting at The Piggeries and St Margaret’s Open Space, all while dodging the pretty persistent and unpleasantly cold rain.

We thank everyone who came to help regardless of the less-than-ideal weather. The trail looks really great right now and we can’t wait to see the new trees come to life in a few weeks.

Thank you, James, for taking these snaps.

It’s The Season

img_20170204_130546233_hdrOh, not tree planting again, I hear you sigh.

I very nearly thought the same, but then I clicked and watched and loved it!

Our very own videographer Steve made a clip documenting how our Friends of Horsenden Hill planted over 7000 trees this December, complete with aerial footage, soup kitchen, spoon carving and face painting: Great job, Steve!

We have only 38 trees to plant this year and can’t hope to compete with some of their facilities and attractions, but nevertheless hope that you will come and help on Saturday February 10th, 2018, 10 o’clock, starting at The Piggeries.

And we make some pretty good cakes, too!

Oh, but one thing: we have a lovely ranger in our ranks, too, but we do not always do as he says 🙂

Pruning In Equilibrium

img_20170114_131602742_hdrThe forecast promises a dull but rain-free day, so why not come  and brighten-up the Orchard Trail with Mirjam’s guided audio-visual walking experience, or get those cobwebs out of the old bones and help with the winter pruning?

Absolutely no experience is necessary as we strive to achieve pruning knowledge equilibrium: we will teach you what you need to know unless you are in a position to teach us. All levels, ages and abilities are welcome.

We hope you’ll join our first activity of the year, followed by a discussion of all things orchard over some fruity refreshments at The Fox.

Come meet us today Saturday January 13th, 2018, 11:00 at the Osterley Lock Orchard.


Winter Pruning

j-m-01Welcome back from the festive season, and a very Happy New Year to all!

Here’s a great opportunity to start with those new year resolutions, to be an active part of the orchard trail, to help improve our local area and preserve some of our local nature gems. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s free!

Come and join our

Winter Pruning & Guided Tour
Saturday January 13th, 2018 11:00

Meet 11:00 at the Osterley Lock Orchard and join a guided tour, or join the active workforce for the 2018 winter pruning. No experience necessary but suitable clothing for either activity is recommended.

The guided tour is the perfect opportunity to explore the orchard trail if you haven’t had a chance in a while.

The pruning group will look after apples, pears, quinces and medlars from Osterley Lock to Blackberry Corner. We’ll have some tools but you’re welcome to bring your own pair of secateurs, gloves, and so on.

Both groups hope to retire to The Fox ~14:00 for refreshments.


Piggeries Progress

IMG_20170406_114423998Join us today for the final 2017 effort to tidy up The Piggeries Orchard in preparation of… wait for it… in preparation of… drumroll… in preparation of the 2018 Piggeries Orchard tree planting!

We have been working with Ealing Council and Thames Water who identified that problems exist with the drains that deal with surface water in St Margaret’s Road and in the immediate area. We understand that they are looking for a long term solution. However, as less unwanted water has been entering the Piggeries site we infer they may have found a temporary fix that at least reduces the problem, and we are optimistic that we can plant the Piggeries Orchard trees on February 24th. Today, we’ll be preparing the site by removing more bramble and nettle, stones, brick, rubble and metal in our last work Saturday for this year.

Please join us at The Piggeries 11:00.

Wear suitable clothing and shoes, bring gardening gloves and tools such as digging forks, secateurs or trimming hoes if you can. We hope to finish with refreshments at The Fox at around 14:00.

Seasonal Changes

_MG_9310We had to suspend our weekly Tree Tending Tuesday meetings until spring 2018 due to the now early darkness. Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who came to help on numerous occasions!

We recorded over 430 volunteer hours along the orchard trail for 2017 so far, with more to come! We think it shows: grass and meadow flowers are emerging and slowly taking over from nettles and brambles in the Osterley Lock, Piggeries, St Margaret’s and Blackberry Corner orchards. Elthorne Terrace, Elthorne Triangles, Trumpers Field, the Hanwell Meadows, Three Bridges Park and Glade Lane Canalside Park, Top Lock and Bixley Triangle also saw a lot of attention this year. In addition to weed bashing and rubbish removal, trees were pruned and fitted with better rabbit guards. We are now preparing to replace the worn-out and washed-out tree variety labels soon.

It’s never too late to join the fun! Our dedicated web page shows status and planned work on all sites, and active members coordinate using the volunteer email list.

More fun activity events are coming up in October and November!

Statistically Speaking

DSC_0611Statistically speaking, the average orchardist is a poor keeper of statistics. We plan on improving our habits, but I am sure someone can tell me how long this resolve typically lasts, statistically speaking.

In the absence of hard numbers, I estimated the time spent working in and around the orchard trail to be approximately 300 volunteer hours in 2017 so far. And we are only half way into the year!

My estimation is based on past dates in the diary, recollection and website articles about some events, group photos taken at the larger events. It does not include the social hours at a certain inn, our popular meadow picnics, training classes, ward forum meetings or committee meetings.

We’ll be turning three in October, and I reckon we might be looking back at something between 1500 and 2000 person hours spend clearing, cleaning, watering, pruning and rubbish collecting over that time. A big, big, thank you!

Here are some pictures of people at work in the orchards to bring back memories and inspire new volunteers.


Volunteers ‘R’ Us

DSC_0404Volunteering at the Hanwell and Norwood Green Orchard Trail just became so much easier!

Check out the new Volunteer page from the menu on top of this page. You can view planned work and status of all sites, and you can join the active volunteers with our dedicated volunteer email list.

We hope this will help to keep volunteers better informed, and keep more volunteers informed. We also hope that it helps keeping us better informed: as you spot a problem or another noteworthy status update, or as you finished some guerrilla weeding perhaps, let us know through the volunteer email list so that we can update our records.

With all that technology in place, don’t you think it time to leave it all behind (after having checked the volunteer schedule page for last-minute changes) and come join us over by the canal?

We sincerely hope to see you soon.