Queens Award for Voluntary Service

Volunteer session 29th May + the ‘ragwort season’

Greetings Orchardeers,

There’ll be a volunteer session in Fairfield Orchard this Wednesday, May 29th, starting at 6.30pm (or whenever you can show up).
We’ll meet at the STORAGE BUILDING rather than the stumps circle so everyone can help getting the tools organised.


1. Mow the grass (and if we have time run the mower along parts of the Fauna path edge to discourage overhanging grass growth).
2. Strim and slash a selected area of nettles/ cow parsley around the fruit trees.
3. Stone pick the stretch of land alongside the storage building and place stones in the sump and alongside the building base.
4. Discuss with volunteers present what we might do with this land when the boundary issue has been fixed.
5. Remove the plastic protectors around the saplings in the ‘Loxam hedge’ near the Cromwell Road entrance. Store them in bags for future use.
6. IF we have heard from Richard Storton about the algal growth in ponds then possibly remove from Alder Pond.
7. IF the weather is appropriate AND we have suitably qualified personnel (see below), spot weed the ragwort down the Pads footpath.

From The Ragwort Desk:
It is the time of year when we have to turn again to ragwort control. Ian presented a paper to the last FOG meeting on this so the details are available in the FOG minutes. But basically we must spray the rapidly appearing plants in the next month or so. Ian will be organising ragwort working parties to systematically work through the fields. He will try to spread these across the working week and weekends. To qualify volunteers must meet two conditions:
a) Be born before 1st January 1965. This is serious – it is a legal requirement for the non-domestic application of herbicide without a specified qualification (from memory this is a three day course costing several hundreds of pounds if any of you ‘youngsters’ want to qualify!).
b) Work under Ian’s direction. He will mix the herbicide and give instruction on its use. To be effective our work must be systematic and it is vital that volunteers follow a set plan.
If you wish to join the working parties please contact Ian at

or 07811970595
Ian will circulate a list of potential working days to those who join the list. Remember that to apply the herbicide the weather must be still and dry.

From The “Volunteer Numbers” Desk:
Finally, Ian gives notice that a short questionnaire will soon be circulated to all the ‘Orchardeers’. The expansion of the Nature Reserve to include Flora implies more volunteer work and we need to increase the number of volunteers. The questionnaire will seek your views on how we might do this. Watch out for the message and please reply when it arrives!

And that’s all for now.
Please do come on Wednesday evening if you possibly can. Even if you can’t come along for the full duration, everyone’s efforts contribute to the cause, and it’d be wonderful to see a good turn out.

Best wishes,