The open day took place on Sunday under cloudy skies but this did not deter the crowds enthusiasm for the orchard tour that was engagingly conducted by Mick a longstanding volunteer at the Croydon Ecology Centre.
He explained that the land had laid derelict for 25 years before being leased free by the council to the volunteers in 1998. It took 2 years to clear the land and 100 fruit trees , pears,plums and apples all pre 1900 varieties were planted. We are able to sample a number of apple varieties including Blenheim Orange, American Mother and Lane’s Prince Albert.
Two Herdwick Sheep , Sam 5 years and Ben 3, also live at they end of the orchard in pens.The sheep originate from the mountains of Cumbria and were saved from extinction by a certain Beatrix Potter. One chap piped up “Was that Harry Potter’s Mum?”. A breeding programme was set up by Beatrix and now the wool is popular for use in eco-friendly building insulation.
In the recent Croydon Council Development Plan the Ecology Centre was formally recognised as a site of nature conservation.
The house was open for Cream Teas and cake in the pantry , plants were on sale and the Croydon Astronomical Society were in attendance.