Greenhaven's Network, which works in the community to connect people and wildlife, organised a walk on 25th September 2021 of Peacehaven's green spaces including Peacehaven community garden, the Oval, Epinay Park, the spine path, Lizzie’s community garden, Peacehaven Community Orchard, the Conversation Garden and Centenary Park (the Big Park).
Peacehaven community garden
The walk started off in Peacehaven community garden which is open for everyone and hosts Forest schools twice a week as well as community support groups.
David Seabrook, "Some of the hazel's will be coppiced later in the year to bring in the light but will grow back 6 foot again next year. Rewilding projects are great but space's need to be managed. Wild flowers in the Dell for example have been successful this year."
Next stop on the walk was the Oval which hosts sycamore and apple trees and we heard about the importance of sycamore trees due to their close relation to Ash trees and the difficulty they have been having with Ash dieback.
Epinay Park followed next a hidden gem that many in Peacehaven are unaware of. From Epinay Park it was on the spine path which is between Glynn Road and Firle Road. It is in the process of becoming a public right of way and is a safe route between north and south Peacehaven. There is a spine path community group that undertake projects to make the most out of the space.
The spine path
We stop off at Lizzie's community garden which includes raised beds with flowers and fruit including tomatoes and strawberries.
Lizzie’s community garden
Next stop is Peacehaven Community Orchard to the north of Centenary Park (the Big Park). Sue started the orchard in 2016 and worked with Brighton Permaculture Trust who positioned the apple trees in the contours to avoid frost pockets. There are 29 Sussex varieties and they have two of most of them.
Peacehaven Community Orchard
There is wind from the west so the trees are surrounded by a green net that acts as a windbreak. The trees are slow growing due to the wind and should grow 25-30 feet high and will be pruned to encourage them to grow out instead of up. Challenges include dogs, litter, voles that eat the roots and aphids but the wind is the biggest challenge. The trees need watering for the first couple of years and volunteers have to barrow water from the cafe which is a half an hour a trip per tree.
Adams Pearmain apple tree
Peacehaven Town Council has given the volunteers £1000 to enable restoration work after the pandemic and winter gales. Brighton Permaculture Trust provides help with managing the trees and training for volunteers and there are plans to take grafts of the apple trees to make copies of the trees. 120 trees from the South Downs National park will be arriving in January 2022 to be planted in the shelter belt, these include some disease resistant Elms.
Peacehaven Community Orchard bench
David Seabrook, "The grass in the orchard has been cut with a tractor into bits which makes it difficult to rake. When you scythe it, it all rolls up. We have a scything course with Greenhavens coming up for those that are interested."
Adams Pearmain apple
Karen from Greenhavens Network, "This year we started a wilder garden project which was successful and we have 27 wilder garden champions. We have equipment and we are doing bat detecting, moth investigation and inspiring people to get in touch with nature. A documentary on wilder gardens will be debuted on 23rd October along with a Seedy Saturday seed swap."
The Super Saturday Seed Swap will be 11-3 on 23rd October at the Hillcrest Centre in Newhaven. Companies have donated seeds and people can make a donation if they haven’t got seeds to swap. There will be a raffle and Mad Tommy is compering. For more information see the Seedy Savers Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3385121784897512