North Devon and Cornwall National Trust staff and Volunteers descended on Dunsland, Brandis Corner this week for an Orchard Management Training Day and despite the soggy weather they planted, pruned and mulched their way through the day, with expert advice on hand from Chris Groves (Orchard Officer at Cotehele).
This magical location once hosted Dunsland House and estate, which were purchased by the National Trust in 1954 and restored to their former glory over 13 years. Only the out buildings now remain as a tragic and still unexplained fire ravaged the house in 1967. Although the house could not be saved, Dunsland estate remains a mystical site for me, not only is it a Site of Special Scientific Interest for it’s rare lichen and invertebrates, but it also hosts remnant ancient parkland, outbuildings, walled gardens and once contained a modest Orchard.
An Orchard once stood within the estate, but had long gone before the National Trust took ownership. A brand new Orchard, planted with the help of volunteers was subsequently created on the original site in 2003. We now have some 14 species of local varieties of Plum, Pear and Apples, providing not only a great habitat for wildlife, but also some quality fruit. We had a great harvest last year, so fingers crossed for 2014.
Thanks to everyone for a great day!
Principle pruning Ranger