No Mans Orchard
The name “No Man`s “ was traditionally given to land that straddled more than one parish. At No Man`s O rchard this is supported by the fact that the parish boundary of Chartham and Rough Common and Harbledown runs across the centre of the site. The orchard is visually appealing as the trees change with the seasons.A wealth of pink and white blossom shows in spring and colourful with fruit in the autumn.
Canterbury City Council has designated the orchard a Local Nature Reserve in recognition of its value for wildlife and to encourage its educational use. It was the first orchard on the UK to be designated as such. The 10 acre site is also a Site of Nature Conservation Interest designated by Kent Wildlife Trust ,because of the number of lichens and mosses found on the fruit trees.
The original Bramley trees were planted in 1947. They have large spreading crowns and the trees are taller than in modern commercial orchards. At the eastern end of the orchard are mixed cider apple trees planted in 1996. As the old trees come to the end of their life they are replaced with old Kent varieties such as Kentish Fillbasket and Flower of Kent The orchard was at risk in the late 1990s and both parish councils joined together to purchase the land and save it as a traditional Kent orchard. The site is managed by a committee representing each parish,with help and advice from the Kentish Stour Countryside Project and a grant from Natural England.
There has been no spraying with herbicides in the orchard since 1993 and this has led to a noticeable increase in the number of wildflowers. Dead or decaying trees are moved to the edges to provide a habitat for beetles and fungi. Look out for green woodpeckers, little owls, wrens, chaffinches together with foxes ,rabbits, slowworms and grass snakes.
There has been a serpent seat sculpture in the orchard since 1996 when two local art students created one from oak and apple wood. When this original serpent reached the end of its life artist Steve Portchmouth was commissioned to make a new one. This new one was installed in 2008,and makes a wonderful focus for games and picnics.
The orchard has been the venue for many events over the years, such as Apple Day concerts and Woodland events. Two large country fairs were held here with shire horses ,barbecues, country dancing and poetry festival. The local poet even had his marriage blessed beneath our trees. The orchard is open for everyone to use . Contact the parish council clerks for details.
We are very keen to host visits from school parties and students of every age . The orchard is a wonderful place to study small wildlife and is nationally known for its variety of lichens ,mosses and insects. Please let us know if you wish to visit.
The Adopt a Tree Scheme
A good way of involving yourself in the orchard is to adopt one of our trees. A sponsorship certificate makes a splendid gift. You would be able to pick the fruit from your own tree knowing that you are helping to preserve one of the very few traditional Kent apple orchards left . Sponsorship costs £75 for life or £20 per year. Details from the parish clerks.