Archive for March, 2010

Abundance ‘Apples for All’

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

‘Apples for All’ is a new Abundance project based in Staveley. This summer we want to get Staveley residents and visitors hooked on the idea of growing their own fruit by planting 50 apple trees around the village. The trees will be of local varieties, evolved to thrive in our local conditions, and will be on a variety of different rootstocks – so you can choose a tree that will grow to 15ft, a dwarf tree suitable for containers, or something in-between.

Today we got news that the project will receive some money from Windermere and Staveley’s Neighbourhood Forum to help us pay for the trees and produce some information leaflets. But we still to raise a bit more money, so now its full steam ahead!

If you would like an apple tree for your garden, have space at your place of work, or can think of any public spaces that would benefit from some fruit trees then please get in touch.

We would also like to get some new volunteers on board to help graft the trees, plant them out later in the summer, promote the project, produce a map of the local fruit and help us at a few events we hope to hold – possibly to include a community apple pressing day and workshops on making jam and cooking with wild food. Please get in touch if you would like to learn more about fruit trees, if you have any skills you think we can’t live without!

Contact Lorna on 01539 822165 or email tsl.abundance[at]

Apples for All is supported by:


SENS (Sustainability and Energy Network Staveley)

SLOG (South Lakeland Orchard Group)

Transition coppicing day

Saturday, March 27th, 2010
On Sunday 14th March, Edward Acland hosted a coppicing day at Oaks Wood, near Burneside. It was a beautiful sunny day so lots of people turned out, what better way to spend the day than learning new skills and meeting new friends in the wood.
Everyone had the ch ance to learn about Edward’s traditional approach to coppicing and woodland management, using only hand tools such as the bill hook, crosscut saw, drawknife and froe.
Edward demonstrated how to use a shavehorse, drawknife and rounder to make joints for chairs, gates and hurdles while Romola gave a tour of the woodland with a bit of its history and ecology thrown in.

Kendal Grow Your Own group launch

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

On Wednesday March 24th enthusiastic would-be grow-your-owners teamed up with a team of garden gurus to launch a new local support scheme offering free advice to food growers. With more and more people  planning to have a go at growing fruit and vegetables, the Grow Your Own scheme offers advice and northern know-how by telephone or email (07980 325804 ).

The scheme is the brainchild of Food and Agriculture group member Ros Taylor, who says ‘ We are often told by the media how easy it is to grow your own fruit and vegetables, and I know how much fun it is. But we do have our own challenges here in Cumbria, not least the higher rainfall and shorter growing season than down south. We want to give new growers a good start’. Ros also had an interview with Mike Parr on Radio Cumbria telling him about the group and giving him some advice on growing tomatoes.

Growing your own food helps to cut food miles, reduce carbon emissions and it’s good for the soul!

Huge thanks to Ros for all her hard work gettting the group going.

The next Food and Agriculture event is a Seedling Swap on May 8th, from 10am-3pm at the community orchard and shed at Underley Road Allotments in Kendal.

Abundance grafting

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Last Saturday two Abundance members went along to South Lakeland Orchard Group’s grafting workshop at Growing Well.

Our first grafted apple trees

In the 2 hour workshop we had a lively grafting demonstration

from Hilary ‘the apple lady’ Wilson and managed to graft 8 trees, 4 were Scotch Bridget – a hardy cooking apple withstanding drought, harsh winters and poor summers therefore very suitable for our local climate. The other 4 were Duke of Devonshire, a  dessert apple raised at Holker Hall in 1835.

These trees are going to be used in our exciting new Abundance project. If you would like to get involved in Abundance events please contact or ring Lorna on 01539 822165.

Tinkers Bubble felling fortnight

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

SLACC members Ruth and Lorna recently travelled to Tinkers Bubble in Somerset to attend their ‘felling fortnight’.

Tinkers Bubble was set up in 1994 and was one of the first communities of its kind to be granted planning permission, creating a turning point in planning laws and entering phrases such as ‘low impact’  into the planning vocabulary.

The Bubble consists of conifer plantation, broadleaf woodland and coppice, orchards, meadows, gardens, and a market garden. There is permission for up to 16 residents and other residents include 2 Jersey cows, a calf, 3 goats, a horse, numerous hens, and a cat.

We were there to help fell some of the Douglas Fir plantation. The aim of the fortnight was partly to thin the plantation but also to provide timber for various projects. The community has a steam engine powering a sawmill, run entirely on the ‘waste’ wood it produces. The straw bale barn this is housed in is in a dire state and some of the Douglas we were felling is going to build a new barn.  The timber is also used as building material for the various dwellings on site and as firewood.

Axeing a 'gob' in the tree

One of the rules of the Bubble is that no fossil fuels can be used on site, therefore all felling was done with axes and large two-man saws.This is a lot easier than you might think and not much slower than using a chainsaw. Instead of the drone and the fumes of a chainsaw the woodland was filled with lovely noises – birds, the singing noise of a saw, the singing of the workers, the clatter of the axes, the cracking of the timber as it starts to fall and then the earthy thud of the tree as it hits the ground, plus the large round of applause when it did.

Cutting the timber to length with a 2 man saw

Once felled the timber is extracted by horse. Unfortunately the area was too muddy for extraction during our stay so we didn’t get to see the horse in action.

The evenings were spent chatting in the communal roundhouse, singing songs, playing music and drinking Tinkers Bubble cider. It was very inspiring to stay with a community that are managing to live successfully without fossil fuels. We hope to go back in the summer and help with the ‘Barn Building Bonanza’ and it’d great if other SLACC members wanted to join us.