Come to support Ladywell Fields’ funding bid on Wednesday 29 January

Robert Sheppard writes…

IONA CLOSE ORCHARD is a wonderful pocket of undisturbed wildlife in the heart of Catford (behind Bournville Road) – but it will deteriorate quickly if not carefully looked-after.  It remains quite overgrown, but retains some fine old fruit trees. In common with most old orchards, the site is of high nature conservation value.

A diverse group of local people of all ages has already been involved in efforts to restore this ancient orchard – and the London Orchard Project has helped plant some new fruit trees.  There is a lot of enthusiasm about keeping this project going and safeguarding the site and its conservation value.

A volunteering session in 2013
A volunteering session in 2013

But to encourage these voluntary efforts, some more, quite modest, funding is needed. We’re asking for £1,500 and with this we will run four volunteer sessions in 2014 and will: complete some essential tree works to make the site safe and improve wildlife habitat; buy a secure tool store and a few key tools for volunteering sessions; and buy some saplings and more fruit trees to plant.

At least 50 local people will, we expect, be directly involved in one or more of these four volunteering sessions. However the beneficiaries in the longer term will be a much wider group than this.

For example, when the site is clear of rubbish and safe, probably as soon as September 2014, it can be made available as an ‘outdoor classroom’ for local schools.


4 thoughts on “Come to support Ladywell Fields’ funding bid on Wednesday 29 January

  1. Hi,

    I actually live in the house in which grounds this orchard stands, so it’s an important subject to me. We’ve been thinking about working from the top from our gate to work towards the pathway, but of course we don’t want to disturb the efforts you are making.

    It actually stands on the grounds of two houses, back in 1825 when the houses were built number 60 (where we live) was called Higham Lodge and number 62 was The Laurels. Iona is a late addition in naming around here. The Edwardian house next to Iona close is called Iona officially, and that was the reason the close was called that.

    We also have security concerns regarding the project as officially this is in our back garden and we would like to discuss it. So if you could please contact me on that would be great.


  2. Thanks to everyone who came along tonight and supported our project. We secured the funding requested and our next two volunteer sessions will take place on 20 February and 13 March. Robert (

  3. Might this qualify for the Rushey Green Funding that’s being tweeted about at the moment? It’s related to community activity and it’s up to £2500. I cannot make this event but happy to come at other (non work) times

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for your comment. The bid they are putting in is for the Rushey Green Funding, Robert is hoping that people will come along and vote for their bid – fingers crossed! If you are interested in helping out at Iona Close Orchard in the future, keep an eye out on the blog because events should be advertised here.

      Best wishes,


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