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The orchard will cover 3.75 acres with 75 trees to mark the 75th anniversary of Grantham and the district’s role in D-Day and Arnhem, plus 2020 as the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe. It offers an inspirational opportunity to commemorate the past with a living orchard, illustrating aviation and airborne forces heritage alongside green space, fruit growing and healthy living. Every tree will symbolise not only passing of the years but the strength and diversity of a shared spirit. The orchard will be an information and education tool for a time in history immortalised in film and archive; a focal point for people to remember and reflect amidst the peace and beauty of a flourishing orchard. Schools will be involved in planting and harvesting with the opportunity to use the area for outdoor learning. Leased by the National Trust to the district council, it will be a valuable green and productive space in the centre of Grantham, with community harvesting and increased biodiversity.
What we'll deliver:
Why it's a great idea:
Aviation heritage is commemorated locally, but there is currently no publicly accessible site for interested parties to congregate and learn more. Orchard interpretation boards will illustrate the United States Army Air Force pre-invasion strike behind enemy lines on the eve of D-Day, the role of nearby St Vincent's Hall with both British & American forces, and the activities of First Airborne Division in the build up to Arnhem. Schools will be able to use it as a nature and educational resource and it will offer opportunities to increase the Wyndham Park volunteer pool of 60/80 people and widen available activities. Biodiversity will be increased by fruit trees and wildlife-friendly hedging and fruit from the orchard offers community opportunities for picking and fruit crop uses. It will link with the Woodland Trust local proposals on tree planting, and walking / cycling routes. The site will open up possibilities for adjacent nursery, infant and additional needs schools.
Steps to get it done:
Our Heroes Orchard has the potential to deliver valuable benefits, not only as a living memorial and a delightful new green space in the heart of town but also as a valuable information and educational resource. It represents the latest step in a programme of aviation heritage awareness and activity conducted by South Kesteven District Council working alongside the internationally recognised Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire. It has forged links with key military contacts - echoing the United States Army Air Force Troop Carrier Command presence in 1944 - and the Cambridge Military Cemetery, where US personnel are buried. Lincoln’s International Bomber Command Centre, the Imperial War Museum at Duxford and nearby Newark Air Museum are further links. Aviation activities have prompted keen interest across the community and from further afield, including special interest groups and schools. Overall the orchard will be a commemorative flagship for the town and the district.
About the space
Alongside Wyndham Park & Sedgwick Meadows , near the River Witham
South Kesteven District Council
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WELCOME Signs and 2 History panels have finally gone into the Heroes Commemorative Orchard, which completes the list of planned installations within this area. The trees are doing well, on the whole, and the dedicated team of Volunteers are back on watering duties as we were all through the heat of 2020. We have got a wildlife camera within the boundaries of the field and have a family of foxes regularly trotting past (they tend to move quite quickly) and on a couple of occasions with an adult fox carrying food looks like a duck) This is the link to the Google Album with selected videos from the camera https://photos.app.goo.gl/BWNDMLqtXVkYarEPA A reminder that we have a Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/HeroesOrchard) and - although I haven't used it recently - a group email for keeping informed as to progress. We do hope that as the country opens up and people get more confident about going out and about , that some of you from further afield will feel able to visit the Orchard. I can only add one photograph to this report but the rest are on teh Facebook page. Many thanks for your support of this venture Elizabeth Bowskill (on behalf of the Wyndham Park Forum/ Heroes Commemorative Orchard team)
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!
New disabled access and viewing area for Heroes Orchard Grantham’s Heroes Commemorative Orchard at Wyndham Park has a new disabled access and viewing area to improve public accessibility, thanks to the help of two local firms. A paved area from the riverside path leads onto a slabbed viewing platform suitable for wheelchair users to view the 3.75 acre site and its 75 trees, planted to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. Grantham company MKM Building Supplies donated some of the materials and local company Belvoir Landscapes carried out the work. We are extremely grateful to MKM for their contribution. The paved area ensures that the orchard is as accessible as possible for everyone. The next phase is to install information boards to allow visitors to see just what a significant military role this district played. We will also be installing 3 benches, two at the top of the field and one near the paved area. Both positions provide a fantastic panorama across the orchard. It has been difficult during the lockdown over the summer to push on with elements of the project, but we are nearing the end now. Hedgerow trees for planting between the fences will be delivered by the Woodland Trust at the beginning of November with an opportunity for sponsors and volunteers to plant these. It is hoped that small groups from the local schools who helped fund raise, may be able to join us for the task as it is all in the fresh air and we can organise things to be as socially distanced as possible. There will be further opportunity to volunteer over the autumn and winter - and those opportunities will be put on the Facebook page. This email is coming from the Spacehive website. the group email which many of you signed up to be put on will be re-activated shortly ( logistics and admin issues have hampered my being able to process those details). If anyone has not signed up for further updates independent of this platform please get in touch by replying to this email. Many thanks for your support, and I hope that some of you at least have managed to visit the Orchard during lockdown Caption for picture: MKM branch director James Truman with Elizabeth Bowskill and Ian Simmons, Wyndham Park Forum
The final landscaping part of the Orchard development will happen this week , thanks to a further generous donation. The disabled access will be at the lower gate entrance. It was not in our original design, but suggested as an important improvement. A paved path from the tarmac path in Wyndham Park to the Orchard will be laid, and a small patio area so that visitors in wheelchairs can enter the Orchard and view the field from the bottom. There will be a welcome board near the patio and one of three seats. Pictures of progress and further reports will be posted on Facebook. And a reminder that if you are not on the group email and want to be please email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As you will see from the image - and more photos soon to be posted on Facebook - the grass is growing and the time has come to cut it. We hope we can manage to scythe and rake it, but it is a big task especially with lockdown restrictions (we can manage socially distanced , but will struggle on numbers of volunteers.) The Orchard is 3.75 acres and we were wondering if anyone knows someone who might help - for free - to cut and bale - and remove the hay: someone with the right equipment, or a small holding, or perhaps who needs the hay and could ask someone to cut it for us. Please reply to this email if you can help - it would be much appreciated. Keep following the Facebook posts for up to date reports on progress. The Orchard Watering Team have been able to have a few breaks with the rain we have had - but will be out again next week making sure the trees remain watered and cared for.
Good morning to you all For those who are not following the HCO on Facebook - please do take a look at the link below. Last week should have been our Official Opening followed by some special activities as part of the VE Day celebrations in Wyndham Park. Alas like so many other events we had to POSTPONE, but a couple of us met appropriately socially distanced to hold the 2 minute silence at 11 am on Friday 8th May. The Facebook page has a video of that 2 minute silence accompanied by the church clock striking 11 am and the bird song (and a dog bark!) in the peaceful surroundings of the orchard. The link below is a montage and a reminder of some of the special military commemorations and support offered by just a few of our sponsors made especially for V E day. Thank you once again to EVERYONE who donated. The two American Acers - sugar maples - to commemorate the American links, have today arrived in the park and will be planted later this week. We chose Acer rubrum 'October Glory', and will share photos of the planting on Facebook. Another reminder to let me know if you wish to be added to a circulation email if you have not already done so. I am sending this same link out via that email - so apologies for filling up your inbox with duplicated messages. Please like and share if you can. Thank you Stay safe, and hopefully we will be able to welcome you to an Official Opening some time soon Elizabeth Bowskill on behalf of the Wyndham Park Forum https://www.facebook.com/HeroesOrchard/?view_public_for=103304217837260
Nature is not on lockdown - as you will probably have noticed in your own gardens! The Heroes Commemorative Orchard is blossoming - and it is really a truly peaceful place. we do not appear to be able to upload multiple images to these news feeds so please head to our Facebook page and follows/like the page - we are posting regular(weekly) photographs of progress. Not that we can do much for the time being - but the Orchard is regularly walked by our volunteers as part of their locally exercise route. So as not to miss out on news and so we can use just one means of communication a group email has been set up including both those of you who kindly donated and those who came forward and helped with the planting and are interested in signing up as volunteers. Some of you have already indicated you wish to be on that list. I am emailing shortly - so if you do not get an email besides this one and you have asked to be on the list please get back to me - it is a simple clerical error. We are in the meantime planning the hard landscaping and interpretation boards so that all will be in place for when we have our official opening - which we are all looking forward to - whenever that will be! Stay Safe and well - with best wishes on behalf of the Wyndham Park Forum team - Elizabeth Bowskill (secretary)
This is just to advise that due to the ongoing restrictions and self isolation we are all being encouraged to practise, all future progress on developing the Heroes Commemorative Orchard and plans for organising an Official Opening have been put on hold. Rest assured that volunteers who are able to get out for local walks are including visits to the Orchard as part of their route - to ensure all is well. The Orchard is regularly used by dog walkers, and is a lovely peaceful place. More regular updates will be posted on the HCO Facebook page: please keep in touch - stay safe and well - and please do join us - whenever it is - for the Official Opening.
With apologies for the delay in sharing this we have now completed the planting of all the trees in the orchard with the first ones going in on Sunday 15th March and the second planting being on Thursday 19th March. We were assisted by a number of volunteers, local people and some of our backers. It was a very satisfying exercise especially during a very difficult week. Thank you to everyone who came. Attached is just one photo showing Paddy Perry who planted a tree for his father Gerry, who served with First Airborne Division as part of 2 Para in 1944, and who reached the bridge at Arnhem that inspired the film a Bridge Too Far. “My father was captured and then survived Belsen concentration camp,” he said. “I am very proud of him and planting a tree in his memory seems a very fitting thing to do.” More photos will be shared on Facebook @HeroesOrchard in the next few days. We will also make available the list of fruit tree varieties along with the planting plan should anyone wish to visit - it is a lovely quiet space - sorry no seats yet - but those will come. If you are able to, enjoy the outdoors - the sun is shining and spring is in the air - leaf and blossom buds on some of the trees we planted.