This outstanding Heritage project has engaged over 120 school children in 5 apple-growing parishes on the Somerset Levels & Moors. The locally based workshop leaders; author James Crowden and artist Kate Lynch inspired the children not only to write original and lively poetry, but also to draw and illustrate their very personal observations of orchards, apples and Cider making. Inspired by the work of Common Ground, it is hoped this project will act as a catalyst for similar initiatives.
Apples and orchards are avital part of the Somerset landscape and hold particular value to the cultural landscape of the Levels & Moors.
Apples and orchards add greatly to the local distinctivelness and are surrounded in antiquity, myth and traditions. They play an important role in the local economy
and for many generations, farmers have succeeded in producing fine harvests of apples for Cider and Apple Juice. As with many traditional industries, change has occurred in recent years and it is not uncommon to see or hear of orchards disappearing from the Somerset landscape. The project will encourage communities to learn about their local orchards and each of their long history.
It is a vital part of every child's education to get out into the countryside and observe
the diversity of nature and the natural productivity that arises from agriculture and horticulture. Somerset is fantastically lucky to have so many orchards
on it's doorstep and the spontaneous enthusiasm of the cildren, which shows though in their poetry and art, gives a new and exciting perspective on orchards as a community resource and a place of education and wonder. The schools involved are all in traditional orchard areas:
Children from years 5 and 6 were taken out with their teachers to visit the orchards at 3 very different times of year; April/Map for blossom and bees, October/November for apple harvest and cider making, Jan/March for pruning and grafting.
- Kingsbury Episcopi Primary.
- Creech St. Michael Primary.
- Brent Knoll Primary.
- Butleigh Primary.
- Hugh Sexey Middle school.
Funding: The project was funded through the Somerset Levels and Moors LEADER+ Programme and the Local Heritage Initiative (Heritage Lottery Fund). Each school also contributed to the workshops.
Acknowledgements: We are very grateful to the various cider farmers, bee keepers and orchard owners, teachers and bus drivers who have made this project possible. June and Robin Small, Charlron Orchards, John Harris, West Croft Cider, Louisa Sheppy, Sheppy's Cider, Roger Wilkins of Mudgeley, Mrs. Lock, Matilda Temperley, Julian Temperley, Burrow Hill Cider Farm, John McGrouther, Clapp's of Baltonborough, Tom Donne, Ian Dunbar, The Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury and the Somerset Registry Office, Taunton.
Many Thanks: also to Fran Walker, Nacy Burditt and Richard Bradford of LAMP who have steered this project through mountainous seas of bureaucracy and form filling. And last, but by no means leat, Bill Bradshaw for his excellent photographs, Andrew Crane for his inspired graphic design and Colorhouse Sherborne for their laminated panels.