Nature Conservation Lewisham

Get involved in Lewisham's parks and nature reserves

Iona Close Orchard

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Iona Close Orchard is a fascinating relic of a Victorian garden. The houses to which it originally belonged date to about 1825.  Hidden away behind a few mature ash and Norway maple trees are several fine old fruit trees, apples, pears, plums and a mulberry.   Although it has become has become overgrow, it has remained largely undisturbed, and is therefore a haven for wildlife.  Old orchards are generally of high nature conservation value and there is concern that they may disappear.  There are a number of uncommon invertebrates which specialise in feeding on dead wood or sap runs on fruit trees.  Fruit and nectar also provide food for other foraging insects and birds.

There is a need to carry out basic vegetation management to enable access so that a restoration project is possible.  Some of the existing trees are crowded out by others and need to be removed to make space.  Therefore, the restoration would involve establishing an access path and then the selective removal of some trees and scrub to favour identified fruit trees.  The project will look to enhance the fruit stock by appropriate additional planting.

 

So thanks to a successful bid to the Mayor’s Fund work has started on turning this old site in to a viable orchard.  On Thursday 3 November the Ladywell Fields User Group along with volunteers from Nature’s Gymset to work clearing the site to allow access for the initial tree works.  This is the first of a number of volunteer sessions that will seek to improve the site as a nature reserve, in accordance with the Council Ecology Officer’s management plan for the site.  For example the old fruit trees need considerable maintenance (some may need professional felling), a simple fence needs to be erected, and a pathway around the site needs to be laid/built.

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2 thoughts on “Iona Close Orchard

  1. Jess, I actually live in the property that the land belongs to, so I am keen to talk to you about this project as I of course have a vested interest in this. Please get in contact.
    carterhounslow@gmail.com

  2. Hi Jess
    thanks for your email on our website – your email didn’t seem to work so spending this to you via your blog.
    I didn’t know about your orchard, looks really
    interesting. It would be great to link our work together. We are looking
    for new sites to restore orchards for Winter 2012 – we have a grant from
    the HLF to do this and can bring orchard specialists to train communities
    in orchard restoration techniques. It looks like you are already up and
    running though from your blog! Let me know if this sounds interesting, even
    if we don’t directly help you in this way, we can certainly add you to a
    map we are producing of orchard locations in London
    Best wishes
    Kath Rosen
    CEO The London Orchard Project
    kath@thelondonorchardproject.org

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