News December 2016

Local free-range bronze
Christmas turkeys
Traditionally prepared on the farm
Oven-ready birds between 10 & 20lb available
Free delivery
016977 47359

Free turkey for anyone who joins us for a day to help with the plucking!
Get in touch if you are interested.

The AGM in November was well attended and we looked back over a busy year and made plans for next year.
The highlight of our Verges and Pollinating Insects initiative in 2016 was the well supported public meeting in Hexham. We hope that continuing communication with, and between, verge managers and conservation organisations will help us to (albeit slowly!) influence roadside management to benefit biodiversity in 2017. We also anticipate another series of verge walks led by Lesley Silvera and Libby Scott in late spring/early summer.

The Visiting Edible Gardens project included trips to some fascinating gardens in the Tyne Valley and finished with a harvest event in Haltwhistle town centre. We decided to focus on this sort of activity in future as we made contact with people who happened on our displays whilst doing their shopping rather than the already knowledgeable gardeners who tended to come on the trips. Our idea for next year is to hold a series of events in Haltwhistle in the spring to encourage people to grow a veg for themselves. There will be an open meeting to plan this project in the Comrades Club at 7.00 on Jan 23rd.

Real Seeds 2017 catalogue is now available

Real Seeds do not supply F1 hybrids or genetically modified seed - just varieties that do really well and taste great when grown by hand on a garden scale - a catalogue of real seeds for real gardeners wanting to grow proper vegetables. Because all are open-pollinated (non-hybrid), you can even save your own vegetable seed for future years, using the instructions supplied. There's no need to buy new seed every year!

Create a Willow Sculpture
Go Local food in Ovingham have organised a willow workshop with Ruth Thompson of Sylvan Skills on Sat 3rd December, 9.30am to 3.30pm. Cost £10 including refreshments & lunch.
To book your place email or call 01661 832296

South Tynedale Wildlife Group
Tues, December 13th, 7.30pm Comrades Club, Haltwhistle.
Stephen Westerberg from the RSPB; "Geltsdale Reserve and Whinchats"
£3 on the door, all welcome.

Calling all fruit tree spotters
Sue Hick of Transition Tynedale is trying to map all the fruit trees growing on public land in and around Hexham and she has asked for help.

"If you spot a fruit tree while out cycling or walking please note its position and type of tree, and send the information to me for inclusion on the map. There are a surprising number of trees just growing in the hedges, beside roads, on the corners of a street etc where the fruit is free to all but only a few people know of them. With your help we can map them and make use of the fruit."


Here's the map showing what has been spotted so far

Request for information on the location of crab apple trees in Scotland and Northern England.

We are looking for help identifying the locations of wild Crab Apple trees in Scotland and Northern England. This is to support a research project investigating the ecology and genetics of wild apple in Scotland. Crab apple (Malus sylvestris) is probably Scotland's least researched and understood native tree species, for which we lack basic ecological, genetic and management information.

Importantly, research in other parts of Europe has shown that Crab Apple is subject to hybridisation with domestic apples, and that this is having a significant impact on wild populations.
This is thought to be the case in Scotland - a parallel situation to that of the Scottish wildcat !

The aims of this project are to:

  • Carry out an inventory of wild-grown apple trees recording their morphology and the ecology of the sites and woods they occur in.
  • Collect samples to investigate genetic variation and the problem of hybridisation with domestic apples, using micro-satellite markers.
  • Make a collection of scion material from true crab apples and establish a clonal seed stand.
  • Provide ecological and management information for woodland managers.

How you can help
We would be most grateful if you could send information on the locations of any wild grown apple trees, excluding recently planted ones (note that you do not need to try to confirm whether the trees are actually true Crab Apples). This would include a grid reference and/or the position plotted on an aerial photo, or other information to allow us to locate the trees. Photos would of course be a bonus. If you wish to record any morphological or site information, we could send you a form to do that. Please send information, or queries, to:

Rick Worrell, Forestry Consultant, Upper Park ABERFELDY, Perthshire PH15 2EH
01887 840331 Mob: 07341 271904

Partners: Dr Richard Worrell Forestry Consultant, Dr. Markus Ruhsam, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, Graeme Finlay Forest Enterprise Scotland.

GoLocal - volunteering opportunity
Next year GoLocal will be able to offer volunteers, who want to get involved in outdoor activities, a chance to learn more about growing, get involved in producing great veg, enjoy working as part of a team, or gain some experience to add to their CV. GoLocal are keen to extend their volunteer activities and have raised a grant from Awards to All for this. A coordinator, who will be recruiting and supporting more volunteers, has been appointed. If you are interested in getting involved, or if you know someone who might be - contact

A truly Magnificent Meadow
Congratulations to Wylam Community Orchard for winning this year's Magnificent Meadows award in a national competition led by the charity Plant Life. Full details:

South Tyne Sustainability aims to reduce the impact of the community of Haltwhistle and surrounding villages on our environment. This will help individuals, families and our community save money and resources and ensure a more sustainable future for us all.

To join STS contact Sue Seymour, 016977 47359