22 October 2023

Never to be found in a supermarket

Once again Paul Chilton put on a display of 119 different varieties of heritage apple varieties at our Apple Day. Over 300 people came to see the display and taste 14 different types of apple that we had picked in gardens and orchards around the village. Plus quince, huge walnuts and medlars.

4 October 2023


19 September 2023

The harvest has now started at last


At last! Well done everyone for waiting. Our mid September varieties are ready to pick. James Grieve, Hereforshire Russet, Pitmaston Pineapple and Laxton's Fortune. Why not try one of each? Remember to leave some for others.

8 September 2023


26 August 2023

Apple Day - Saturday 14th October 2023 - 1pm-4pm

Apple Day is Free!

Yes, the Brightwell cum Sotwell Apple Day is well known as one of the best Apple Days in Oxfordshire and is free. We just want to celebrate the apple harvest and give visitors the chance to see and understand just how different and unusual apples are to those in the supermarkets.

Each year retired fruit farmer, Paul Chilton, produces a staggering display of just some of the 101 traditional heritage varieties of apples and pears all grown in the parish. There are always different varieties to taste as well!

The cake table will be staggering! Literally! Last year villagers were invited to "make something for the cake stall" as long as it contained apples. On the day they just kept arriving! We had small cakes, large cakes, muffins, tarts, pies, biscuits and even toffee apples.

Children will have a great time dipping apples on a stick in melted chocolate and decorate with sprinkles and marshmallows, plus take up the longest peel challenge.

Tours of the community orchard will run regularly where you can hear all about how the apple project started in Brightwell cum Sotwell and how we have helped other villages in Oxfordshire to plant their own orchards.

23 August 2023

And so the new season starts

We have picked our first apples! Laxton's Fortune from one of the old orchards in the village. A very pleasing sight but this is one of just a few trees that are cropping this year.

We had such a mass of apples in 2022 we were able to keep the press going for 5 hours on Apple Day.

Why such a patchy harvest? Paul Chilton, our retired fruit farmer and apple expert, shrugs and says that some years this happens. We had two cold spells in December and January, a dry February, a wet March, plenty of promising blossom in May, no late frosts and a warm June.

Last year the trees cropped heavily but they are hardy and there isn't a guarantee that this is the cause. Who knows? Fingers crossed.

Our first apples - Laxton's Fortune

Spartan apple variety
Spartan - looking hopeful

21 May 2023

Wildflowers and insects in abundance

The flowers in the orchard this summer have been spectacular. There has been a lot of various umbellifera along the footpaths through the orchards which have attracted a particularly good range of insects.  All adding to the rich habitat that has developed over the last 9 years since it was planted in 2014. John has been undertaking an ad hoc survey of the invertebrates with some surprising results.