We also wanted to thank Paul Chilton for all his work for the group and for the village. As a retired fruit farmer, Paul is our resident expert on anything to do with fruit trees and fruit growing.
This project started in 2009 with a survey of all the apple trees in the village. What started as a curious question (why do we have so many?) has resulted in Brightwell cum Sotwell being identified as the village with the most fruit trees and also the most varieties in the whole of south Oxfordshire.
It is this record that wouldn't have been possible without Paul. You can give him 10 different apples, all looking the same to the eye, but Paul will be able to name each one straight away. No other village has identified 91 varieties.
We presented Paul with a copy of The New Sylva a Discourse of Forest and Orchard Trees by Sarah Simblet and Gabriel Hembery of the Sylva Foundation (from our neighbouring village Long Wittenham). The illustrations are just wonderful and Paul was clearly pleased.