When you look back at old maps, it’s often surprising how little has changed. Even built-up areas often retain ancient hedgerows.
Just down the road from St Peter’s Church, the main wood at Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve, part of Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve, has been declared an Ancient Woodland by English Nature. This means that it’s over 400 years old. The Wapley Bushes Conservation Group still use many traditional woodland management techniques such as hedgelaying, coppicing and dead-hedging.
Individual trees can sometimes live for a surprisingly long time. This oak at Wychwell Farm is believed to date from medieval times.
Our area used to be full of small orchards, but very few remain. In 2011 Wapley Bushes Conservation Group planted the Orchard for the Future at Wapley Common and Wapley Rank – apples and other fruit of heritage varieties that would once have been grown here but are no longer available in the shops.
They have also rehabilitated some surviving old plum trees that turned out to be a historic local variety, the Frampton Magna.
The Orchard for the Future and Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve have both won top-level recognition from South West in Bloom and the Green Flag Community Award.