“Traditional orchards are a long-established and widely distributed habitat and make a significant contribution to biodiversity, landscape character and local distinctiveness across the UK.”
Gamblins field has for the last 25-30 years been laid to grass and grazed by horses.
The Orchard is shown as the white area on the aerial image above, slightly offset from it’s actual position bounded by the gravel track.
The development will also be removing the Mount Pleasant farm, the last remaining working farm in the Waltham Chase village. This can be seen on the aerial view at the north of the orchard bounded by Curdridge Lane and Sandy Lane.
You can view the development proposal on the Linden Homes website.
This includes the plan of the development. There are also copies of the exhibition display boards , showing the scheme layout and design.
Their website also has more information about Linden Homes themselves.
Linden Homes have said that they will move the slow worms inhabiting the site to the newly made ‘orchard’ at the southern end of the Gamblin’s field. Slow Worms were the only fauna that Linden Homes representatives mentioned at a meeting with the Shedfield Parish Council to inform the council of Linden’s proposals.
There are lots of other animals and insects that are living in the orchard and the field and depend on it’s wild nature.
Here are a few photographs and videos that attempt to show what we will be missing when the development starts and to keep a record, for posterity, of the area before being developed so much that the village turns into an urban sprawl.
As mentioned above the field has been grazed by horses for may years and is also used by many different types of birds.
The field is also grazed by rabbits and used as a back porch by the foxes who live in the Orchard.
The field can get wet at times and this water does drain eastwards into the Clubhouse Lane properties.
Linden Homes have only mentioned slow worms so I look forward to seeing the ecology report as we know of badgers, foxes, grass snakes, slow worms, many different types of beetle and many types of birds that inhabit the thick undergrowth and the remaining fruit trees in the neglected orchard. We regularly watch the bats over the orchard in the evenings and wonder do they live in the barns of the farm or the old fruit trees?
There is one tree with a tree Preservation Order (TPO) applied to it. The large oak that is outside of the orchard and is on the boundary with the Mount Pleasant farm. The TPO number is ‘1936T1’ and can be seen here on Panoramio. If you look at the following photographs on this video you will see that there are many other substantial trees that should also be kept, including large hawthorns, oak, ash, young elm and others.