Bere Marsh Farm

About the Farm

On 30 June 2020 we completed the purchase of Bere Marsh Farm, just outside Shillingstone and on the River Stour. This was nearly 5 years after we first visited, and fell in love, with the property.

It is a fantastic farm with a history of hope and conservation. It lies close to the village of Shillingstone. The River Stour runs alongside, and often over it when the floodplain does what floodplains are supposed to do flood. Just beyond is Hambledon Hill, a big chunk of chalk rising to over 600 feet — a place of incredible history, botany and geology.

There is wetland, grassland and woodland. We hope to have a small milking herd of cows, a small flock of Dorset sheep, free-range hens and orchard. It has a trailway, footpaths, a bridleway. To put it in modern parlance, it has a high footfall — a lot of people walk by it and through it.

We'll update you further once plans are underway! It's all very exciting! 




Location

Set in the gorgeous Dorset countryside.

Bere Marsh Orchard - Coming November 2021!

The CRT is delighted to announce that we shall be planting Bere Marsh Orchard in November 2021 and you can be involved!

£100 covers the planting, naming, administration and 10 years of maintenance

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Your sponsorship will include: 

  • A personalised certificate
  • Your name or a short dedication on a notice board and map at the entrance of the orchard
  • Invitation to events based in the orchard

Wildlife

Bullfinch

Bere Marsh Orchard will add another element of diversity to the current farm; the blossom will support many bees and other pollinators early in the year before the main meadow flowers are available. The leftover fruit will benefit many winter visitors such as fieldfares as well as late-season insects.

As the trees mature, they will support other bird species such as Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch and Green Woodpecker. As it will be unsprayed, there will be a lot of insects in the orchard.

Education and Community Engagement

Bere Marsh Orchard will become an integral part of our Education and Outreach programme. It will be a valuable learning resource for schools and community groups.

Children will be engaged with the orchard right from the start. We have already engaged with the two local primary schools who will be ‘adopting’ the trees and watching them grow and develop as the children grow.

The fenced orchard will provide a safe, secure environment for children to re-engage with nature, the seasons and food production.  By creating our curriculum-linked education programme, the orchard will support learning over a wide range of curriculum areas from plant and wildlife studies to expressive arts, healthy eating and much more.

We will be able to do personalised tours for adult community groups or youth groups. We want people to enjoy our magical space and do all we can to facilitate visits. Events in the orchard will be seasonal and varied.

Types of Trees

An important element of our plans is for Bere Marsh Orchard to be embedded in our Education and Outreach programme. We have therefore opted to have a wide variety of mixed fruit trees, which blossom and fruit at different times of the season, to aid this. Trees will include Apple (desert, juicing and cooking), Pear, Damson, Plumb, Crab apple, Medlar and Quince.

The trees will be fruiting within 4 years, producing 22-45kg per tree when mature. The fruit will be used for our education and outreach programme, allowing us to do some cookery classes. Any remaining fruit will be sold at the farm-gate with other Bere Marsh Farm produce.

The CRT has two orchards in Herefordshire, one in Surrey and one in Norfolk. On these farms, the apples are harvested by volunteers and sold to local cider producers, with the money re-invested in the volunteer programme for equipment and training. The CRT also has a community orchard in Barton, Cambridgeshire which has trees available for sponsorship.

You can visit your tree in Bere Marsh Farm at any time, we only ask that you contact us in advance to forewarn us of your arrival.

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