The idea of being a Community woodland is that whatever is done is done for the benefit of the community. The "original" woodland has a small number of apple and pear trees scattered through it which were never actually planted and hence we believe to be 'seedlings' – trees grown from seed, perhaps from discarded cores thrown away by walkers. When it was first suggested that we might plant some apple trees, the (sadly now defunct) Cheshire Landscape Trust (CLT) gave to us a collection of nine (9) trees which were all of historic Cheshire varieties, thereby ensuring that our group of trees would deserve the title 'Orchard'!
The names of some of the apples conjure up particular places in Cheshire. Wareham Russet immortalises the old pronunciation of Weaverham, where this russet apple has been growing for well over 200 years. Minshull Crab – another recognisably Cheshire name – is a cooking apple with a sharp flavour, originally from Church Minshull, where it has been grown since before 1760. Eccleston Pippin is a dual purpose apple that keeps its shape when cooked. Lord Derby is a variety of cooking apple which was raised in Cheshire in 1862. Lord Clyde is a cooking apple that originated in Stockport in 1866, while Sure Crop is another cooking apple that originated in Altrincham in 1905. It was the ambition of CLT that these old varieties should be propagated and widely grown across Cheshire and Tarvin Community Woodland Trust is pleased to be able to help perpetuate such an ambitious and worthwhile project.
Additionally, there is one apple tree of a non-Cheshire variety. This is a 'Flower of Kent' cooking apple, which is not generally considered to be of outstanding quality by today's standards. However, our tree is rather special – it is a clone of (genetically identical to) the very tree under which Sir Isaac Newton sat while working on his theory of Universal Gravitation. According to the story, Newton, for his own safety, was obliged to return to his home to Woolsthorpe Manor, near Grantham in 1666, when Cambridge University closed because of the plague. While sitting under his own Flower of Kent tree in the Manor orchard, he watched the apples falling, According to his biography, a thought came into his head: "Why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground", thought he to himself....So this fruit tree of ours also deserves its place in our orchard as a result of its historical connections!
Thanks to donations from various very generous villagers, we now also have two pear trees, and a variety of other fruit trees. All of our trees are very young and so produce crops which are very small. However, as years pass, they will become more productive and, at that point, the Tarvin Community can begin to benefit from them. As long as everyone takes small quantities of the fruit at any one time, the Trustees hope that people will feel free to pick the fruit for their own use. Can you imagine going home with sufficient apples for a pie or a crumble? Or picking an apple or a pear to crunch while enjoying a woodland walk? In our minds, that is what the Trust's motto – "Created by the community for the community" is all about!