Autumn work In our last update I suggested we might be able to involve schools and sponsors in the planting of the saplings from the Woodland Trust, but Lockdown 2 was in place and so we had to take the decision to only use volunteers signed up already and use only a few at a time, socially distanced. Whilst the weather remained warm and pleasant through the earlier autumnal months a few jobs were carried out by the hard-working team of volunteers. The first of these was to start pulling out the thistles and nettles, mainly in the area which we are calling the waterlogged corner. This was a very satisfying and therapeutic job. Then in November, having received 450 saplings from the Woodland Trust, we organised a couple of planting days and a small team of 5 volunteers (plus Snoop the dog!). The trees were planted in more or less double rows between the new fence in the middle of the field. The planting pack was called Wild Harvest and consisted of the following: Hazel, Rowan, Blackthorn, Dog Rose and Crab Apple. We also transplanted two small oak trees which we had discovered in the middle of the field – squirrel buried I imagine since the oak tree was too far away for it to have been a fallen acorn from the tree in the top hedgerow. A couple of weeks later a slightly different team of 5 volunteers (but still including Snoop the dog!) tackled the hedgerow on the Wyndham Park side of the Orchard. These saplings had been planted a couple of years ago, but the long grass, nettles, thistles and ivy had choked the plants, grown up inside the plastic tubes and some of the saplings had not survived. We cleared the area around each plant, and where the gaps of failed plantings were significant , we planted a few of our spares from the other side. Now that the hedgerow has been cleared it should be easier to maintain the area – and we decided a monthly check on the growth of dominant species, removal where necessary – until at least the saplings have a structure and vigorous enough growth to survive without help. It was suggested by one volunteer we might aim to learn hedge-laying techniques in due course – once the hedgerow is of the right size, and I am sure the National Trust would assist with that in some way. There is still work to be done heading into the New Year – but since the December weather was heading for some colder, wetter days we decided to put things on hold until after Christmas. Huge thanks to everyone who helped through out this difficult year. Three benches are on order for the Orchard - expected delivery date sometime in February as they are made to order. The interpretation boards - two welcome signs and some boards which tell the history behind the "Commemorative" element of this orchard, are at the final stage of proofing. Our hopes for planning a GRAND OPENING need to be put on hold until we are sure it is safe to invite people to travel, visit in numbers etc, but in the meantime, if you are local to Grantham and haven't yet been to the Orchard and it is safe for you to do so, then please do take a walk round. It is a peaceful place - with a lovely view from the top of the hill; footwear recommended should be suitable for uneven ground and wet grass, and a bit of mud. And so as it is the 21st December on behalf of all the team involved in the project, we wish you a safe and happy Festive season, and look forward to a better and healthier year in 2021 With best wishes Elizabeth Bowskill Secretary Wyndham Park Forum The image shows Snoop the Dog's encounter with Blue the Parrot during one of our work days!