Historic Reeves orchard in Bratton has topped the polls in a county wide awards scheme. The community orchard, which even boasts a range of specialist Wiltshire apple trees, was nominated by the area board for the Voluntary and Community Sector awards and scooped first prize in the category for the best community initiative. Volunteers Mike Pearce and Warren Harding received the award together with a cheque for £1000 which is to be spent on improving access. (ref: Wiltshire Council)
View a short Wiltshire Council DVD on the orchard
Featured in the 'Amateur Gardening' magazine (Jan 10 2009), this fascinating community orchard is situated in the heart of the village.
The land was owned by the Reeves family who ran the ironworks and foundry in Bratton. The allotments on the upper slope are made on the bases of the hothouses that supplied the family with out of season fruits and vegetables. The pump house and pumps that drew water from the stream to supply the hothouses, are situated in the orchard but are not open to the public.
In 1936 a mixed orchard of 146 trees was planted. There are a number of different varieties of apples, including: Green Bramley, Ellisons Orange, Laxtonís Superb, Newton Wonder, Scarlet Bramley, Charles Ross, Peacemaker, Coxís Orange Pippin, James Grieve and Heron Pippin, and several varieties of Damson trees.
The orchard was gifted to the village in 1988, and lay dormant and heavily overgrown for some years prior to the Parish Councilís Conservation Management Plan in 1998.
It is now managed by the council under Countryside Stewardship and has been divided into three distinct areas in accordance with the management plan. These are a fenced grazing area, a stream side wild life area where scrub has been retained and the main orchard area.
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