Six of the best planted at Coggeshall’s Grange Barn
Six apple trees have been planted in the grounds of the National Trust’s Grange Barn in Coggeshall as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project.
The trees, currently no more than a metre tall, join the already flourishing fruit trees to form a small orchard in the garden at Grange Barn, which will provide fruit and shade for generations to come.
Donated jointly by CPRE Essex and the Coggeshall Society, the six Essex heritage apple trees consist of five desert varieties – Nolan Pippin, Braintree Seedling, Twining’s Pippin, D’Arcy Spice and Flame – and one culinary variety, Monarch.
Once bearing fruit, the produce of the trees will be sold for donation at nearby Paycocke’s House, also cared for by the National Trust.
Grange Barn is one of Europe’s oldest timber-framed buildings, dating back to the 13th century, and still stands as a lasting reminder of the once-powerful Coggeshall Abbey.
Much loved by the locals, the barn was saved by the community and restored in the 1980s after falling into disrepair. Today it is used as a community space for the village, playing host to craft fairs, outdoor theatre and visitors who want to find out more about the history of the historic building.
Since the early 1900s, England has lost more than half its orchards, with Essex seeing an 11 per cent overall decline from 872 hectares in 1900 to 774 hectares today. The National Trust is working to bring back blossom and the six trees planted at Grange Barn go a small but important way towards this.
David Knight, chairman of CPRE Essex, said: “Last year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Essex Way, a walk that takes in many miles of wonderful Essex countryside.
“It was conceived by CPRE Essex and became a reality with the help of Essex County Council, with Grange Barn marking the halfway point.
“On hearing about the planned tree-planting, we thought it a fitting place to celebrate our anniversary and for the charity to be a part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project.”
Kerith Ririe, property operations manager for Coggeshall, added: “There has been a small number of fruit trees in the garden at Grange Barn for many years and each year the blossom is delightful.
“The addition of these new trees to create a small orchard will not only provide more important habitats for wildlife but will look beautiful, too. Visitors will be able to take home the fruit for a small donation, which all goes towards helping us look after the places in our care.
“We are very grateful to the Coggeshall Society and the Essex branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England for donating these trees.”
Julian Prideaux, chairman of the Coggeshall Society, said: “The Coggeshall Society is delighted to be collaborating with CPRE Essex and the National Trust in planting these traditional Essex fruit trees in celebration of our late Queen’s Green Canopy. Grange Barn is a magnificent building and these trees will further enhance its setting.”
The trees will be nurtured and maintained by staff and garden volunteers at Grange Barn and it is hoped they will start to produce fruit in the next few years.
- Grange Barn is open on selected Sundays and for special events throughout the year. Visit the National Trust website for details of opening dates and times. Entry is free for National Trust members.