Author Archives: Jim Chapman

Forthcoming events

Owing to Coronavirus, all forthcoming events at the Orchard Centre have been cancelled.
There will be no dawn chorus walk, and the Bio Blitz day is also cancelled. This may happen at a later date – but probably be next year. Keep looking for updates.

BioBlitz at the Orchard Centre

This is a new venture this year! It involves a weekend in June when all things nature are looked at.
Friday 5th June 9pm
This is the moth trapping night when the keen moth group set up their traps.
Saturday 6th June 9am-5pm
A full day of BioBlitz:
Lots of volunteers are needed to record insects, birds, plants and mammals.
The moth traps will be open first thing in the morning (from about 8.30)and all the moths go free.
There will be experts on hand to help with any queries throughout the day.
It could be a great day out for nature loving children – a brilliant way of getting them involved in recording and protecting the natural environment.
Refreshments will be available through the day, and hot drinks and toast for the moth trap opening.
Sorry, no dogs at either.
Strong footwear, and suitable weather gear — might be tee shirts – might not!
More details posted nearer.


This was our best yet!!
A large crowd of people, good weather, and a superb band of musicians who led the procession round the orchard. So many there, we even ran out of food – try not to let it happen again!
Watch out for next year’s date – provisionally Friday 4th February.



Friday 31st January 2020 6.30 for 7pm
HOT FOOD BAR: cider & perry

Wrap up warm, bring a torch, and come and enjoy a
traditional evening with the old customs – toasting the orchard, pouring cider on the tree roots, with food and a
bit of singing afterwards! Happens whatever the weather!

(charge for food and drink)

Hartpury Orchard Perry Pear Open Afternoon

Sunday 21st September 2019  2-5pm

The Orchard Centre will be open with the annual display of perry pears – hoping to beat the world record we created last year – which was an amazing 97 varieties!

Jim will be on hand to identify and perry pears you may like to bring. A donation is asked for to help the Trust’s work at the Centre.

Teas, and Out of the Orchard Perry and Cider (made at the Centre) will be on sale.

Come and enjoy the autumn countryside. Dogs on leads welcome. Free admission. Wander round the orchard and wetland too – wellies or strong shoes (depending on the weather!).

This is part of the National Heritage weekend – and Hartpury church, Old Chapel, mill and tithe barn will also be open.

Date for your diary: Wassail will be Friday 31st January  – when we will have the pleasure of about 10 musicians from all over England. More details later.



Dawn Chorus

Dawn Chorus Ramble at The Orchard Centre

Sunday 5th May 2019 – National Dawn Chorus Day

Meet at the Centre at 5am.

At 5.15am we set off, when (hopefully!) the mists above Colliers Brook and over Catsbury start to rise as the sun comes up. It’s quite magical, and well worth getting up for!

This slow ramble takes about 45mins (or you can linger longer!) going through the perry pear orchards and alongside the lakes and reedbeds – with hopefully birds and wildlife in abundance. It is a friendly informal morning, with Keith Turner on hand to identify the bird song. We can all usually recognise the cuckoo!

Toast and hot drinks are served afterwards.

We welcome quiet children – but sorry, no dogs.

It is a free event – but donations are welcome to support the Orchard Centre and Trust work.
Wellies, strong boots essential – and T shirts or waterproofs depending on the fickleness of the weather!

The Wassail – one to remember!

It was the snowiest day of the winter (to date!) – but still over 30 brave folk came along in bitter weather, and snow and ice still lying! The musicians had to dig themselves out from May Hill to come!  But the ceremony went ahead as usual, and the Hartpury Green perry pear tree had the usual Wassail toast. Toast (for the birds, who are guardians of the tree) was hung in it.

hanging the toast up in the Hartpury Green perry pear tree

the same tree next morning!!!

So we’ve now just about had all weathers – warm evenings when folk could sit outside on the picnic tables, cold and windy ones, and now the snow and ice!! What will next year throw at us??!

HOT FOOD.      BAR: cider & perry
Wrap up warm, bring a torch, and come and enjoy a traditional evening with the old customs – toasting the orchard, pouring cider on the tree roots, with food and a bit of singing afterwards. Rob and Gillian Guest from May Hill with pipes and hurdy gurdy.    Come for all, or some of it – very informal.


Sunday 9th September:  Hartpury Orchard Perry Pear Open Afternoon   

THE WORLD RECORD for the NUMBER of PERRY PEAR VARIETIES on display was achieved – 97 varieties!!!


A lot of people came to enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the superb setting, with Catsbury Hill in the background, and wandered round the orchard and wetland ponds area.

97 varieties out of about 110 were on show — so still room to make the maximum!

The pears then went off to the Malvern Autumn Show where 85 were still ok – the early varieties had gone over quickly. Then off to Big Apple at Much Marcle a fortnight later, when only 55 were good enough to exhibit.

So if you want to see perry pears at their prime — make sure you come to Hartpury Orchard Centre in September 2019 – and hope for a more normal season than this year!

Alfred’s Orchard Hare!

This massive 5′ high hare, decorated by Sarah Davis, was in residence for the summer at the Orchard Centre. He sat gazing across the orchard to Catsbury hill.
He was one of the hares in the AONB Cotswold Hare Trail, and has since been collected and auctioned for their selected charity – making £1000.