Cae Bodfach is an area next to the Cain River, upstream of Llanfyllin Town that is leased by the Town Council from the Bodfach estate as a community asset. Steve Jones from Cwm Harry Land Trust and Dewi Morris (a local volunteer) have been keen for a while now to start something there that the whole community can benefit from. The potential for involvement is wide open, as they don’t intend to stop with the forest garden. But this was a significant start to the project and they are thrilled by the interest so far.
On Friday 4th April: Cae Bodfach was visited by 80 children, careers and staff of the Llanfyllin primary school, who used the visit as part of their National Curriculum environmental education provision. They were given a clear understanding of what they were building for themselves and their carers. They soon got involved in planting, digging holes and adding tree guards to the young saplings they were planting.
The design for the garden has been approved by Llanfyllin Town Council and involves planting a fruit hedge and shelter belt of elder, hazel, blackthorn, damson and brier and on the south side of that lines of orchard trees interspersed with herbs, shrubs and flowers that will provide good bee fodder and will help attract beneficial insects and build the fertility of the orchard.
Of course it is lots of fun working with young children, as every lesson outside the classroom is chance for major excitement. Finding worms, a frog, bits of old clay pipe or broken plate all constitute major events and a chance for wonder and investigation. Simple pleasures! It was really fun to work with them all and a big thanks to the Llanfyllin Primary School pupil’s year 1 – 4 and the teachers and carers for taking part and for their enthusiasm, I look forward to more sessions in the future.
Then on the next day it was the Community Day: 5th April. Apologies for anyone who came later on and missed all the action and to anyone who didn’t know we were planting this weekend, but there will be other opportunities and this is just the beginning of something we plan to build on, so there will be other chances!
We tried to count how many people came down, 55 is my guess throughout the public day, and what was especially good we had members from across the local community, all ages and back grounds from Town Councilors, to residents from the housing association adjacent, folk from the surrounding hill and villages, past permaculture students, friends and more. Members from Tan Y Fron housing cooperative in Meifod came along to plant an apple tree guild, a set of specific support species to help the tree get established.
It will be really interesting watching this develop and we are planning some signs to help people interpret what is going on there as well as labeling the key trees in the orchard. Many of the trees have come from local nurseries and are old and interesting varieties commonly local to the area. Mainly desert and cider apples, but we also planted cherry, pear, quince and plum and we will be adding roe later as well. So it will only get more interesting over time hopefully. We managed to plant 33 fruit trees, 60 supporting trees in wildlife/ fruiting hedge as well as £150 worth of bee friendly plants donated by Tidy Wales and RHS.
We will be adding to Cae Bodfach’s Forest Garden over the coming year and are open to suggestions for other elements we can include in the garden. It might be nice to include some veg growing facilities like raised beds etc… but for now we have concentrated on long term perennial plantings that will have a long life span and will also contribute to local food growing, wildlife and habitat provision.
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