West Horsley WI's Pam Martin shares her experience of picking fruit in our ancient orchard each year and the good use it is put to in our village,

"The many days of glorious sunshine as summer has slipped into autumn this year have been especially precious. The season was marked once again by an invitation to members of West Horsley Evening WI to pick fruit in the orchard at West Horsley Place. Small groups enjoyed the peace and tranquility, and a sense of timelessness, as they harvested apples and damsons in the dappled shade beneath the branches of the ancient fruit trees.

As in previous years, apples were passed to the community garden, Grace and Flavour, for inclusion in their tithe boxes which were distributed around the village by West Horsley Wheel of Care. Other fruit was shared with neighbours who have limited access to fresh produce, and some was preserved as chutney (as perhaps you would expect of the WI) in the hope that it will appear, as little jars of summer, on a WI stall at a local event one day."

As Pam highlights, the orchard is particularly atmospheric at this time of the year. We hope to share it with more people from next year when a regular programme of public activities and events will launch. These activities will range from art, crafts, nature and heritage learning activities to concerts, theatre and more. For the most part they will be small-scale, to give visitors the opportunity to connect with their surroundings and benefit from the sense of wellbeing that engaging with nature, culture and heritage can bring.