Trees & orchards

For information about trees on members’ plots, please see the Constitution and Rules, particularly sections 6.2, 6.3 and 6.4.

There are many native trees in and around Cripley Meadow allotments. We value them for their contribution to ecological diversity, their shade and beauty. But they also need careful management if they are to stay safe, healthy, and in proportion. Cripley Meadow’s tree management plan can be found here.

We also coppice some of our willow and hazel. More information on coppicing and its ecological benefits can be found here.

The Association also has two dedicated, communal orchard areas – Cripley Island Orchard and Castle Mill Orchard – plus a number of other communal fruit trees dotted around the site. They are worked by members, overseen by committee orchard lead Ilias Kounatidis. Under normal circumstances, members are welcome to visit Cripley Island orchard; it is a beautiful and peaceful spot. It is closed at the moment because of Covid and is periodically closed when flooded as it is unsafe then. The fruit there, and in the orchard by Castle Mill flats, is picked at working parties in the autumn and made available to all members. You are allowed to take and eat the odd apple in passing. Any other harvesting of communal fruit is against the rules.

Cripley Island Orchard

Cripley Island Orchard is a heritage orchard and communal area on the north-west corner of the Site, accessed across a bridge behind the Association shed. All members are normally welcome to use it (not during Covid-19), but the fruit is only to be picked and shared on designated days.

Here is the original 2008 leaflet describing the proposal for the development of Cripley Island Orchard. Wendy Skinner Smith worked to have the land added to our lease and organised National Lottery Local Food funding, which Alison Campbell then managed. In 2009 and 2010, Wendy and John Sivell managed the development of the orchard. The project was successfully signed off in 2011, and an open day was held in 2012 (here is the accompanying 2012 visitors’ map).

In 2016 many of the trees were found to need stabilising as the tumps had eroded. A programme of maintenance was developed and begun by Rodney Smith, who was co-opted to the Committee. The tumps were re-grassed to stabilise them and the covers are gradually being replaced, stakes redone and strimmer guards added to the tree guards. The development of the orchard continues. 

Castle Mill Orchard

In 2014 Oxford University donated the trees for our Castle Mill Orchard area, along our eastern boundary, in recognition of the disturbance caused by the Castle Mill development. The orchard was planted by the University’s Parks Team, and is now worked, like the other communal fruit trees on the Site, by members. Here is a plan showing which varieties were planted

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