Devon eco-orchard threatened with eviction

Tony Gosling tony at
Fri Jun 24 14:01:45 BST 2011

We have a dream and our dream is:
• To live a sustainable lifestyle, whereby we are 
able to feed ourselves and children.
• To give back to our local community in Willand and surrounding communities.
• To live a traditional lifestyle in our small 
holding – working the orchard, growing organic 
food and living in a low-impact 
traditionally-built house constructed from the 
natural materials of the surrounding countryside.
• To give our children the knowledge that we once 
all had and have now, staying in touch with the 
seasonsand growing local organic food.
This enterprise, our dream, has enabled us to 
provide for our family needs, with the ability to 
look after our children as full-time parents and 
part-time workers, opposing the norm of full-time 
workers and part-time parents.
Because the sensitive restoration is important to 
us, we have conducted research from the Devon 
Record Office – consulting the tithe maps, drawn 
up following the Tithe Commutation Act 1836.

Join (evil) Facebook group

Remove the Injunction to evict the Masons from Muxbeare orchard
The Masons have transformed what they described 
as a derelict four-acre plot into a haven of 
self-sufficiency boasting a 400 sq m allotment, a 
polytunnel and greenhouses to grow fruit and 
vegetables, chickens for egg production and an 
orchard they have regenerated by planting around 
14 new apple trees of various species.
The couple, who have two boys, aged eight and 
nine, say because they moved onto the site in 
order to work the land, Mid Devon District 
Council is turfing them off as officers do not 
consider them to be conserving an agricultural area.
They were served with an injunction to leave within 28 days from June 1.

MUXBEARE ORCHARD is a 4-acre mixed site of 
pasture and orchard with and existing small 
single storey built barn. The agricultural barn 
has clay tiles roof; this has now been restored.
The old historic orchard is to the north-east of 
the village of Willand. The land at Muxbeare 
Orchard has not been managed for over 50 years; 
our ambition is to return the orchard back to its glory of the 19th century.
The dream is to run a subsistent organic 
smallholding comprising of the Orchard, plus 
rearing chickens, sheep and bees, growing 
vegetables and herbs, and making cider and apple 
juice – selling any surplus in the local community.

A foreword by Dinah & Stig...
"We had a choice of squandering our lives 
stagnating on a council estate in the suburbs of 
London, or taking a leap of faith and moving our 
family somewhere to get in touch with nature and the rhythms of the seasons.
"We want a healthy lifestyle for ourselves and 
our children, giving them the best start we can 
offer. Building our own home, working with the 
land to run an organic smallholding that gives 
back to the community of which it is part, we 
feel is the better of the two lives.
“We are restoring a traditional orchard, hay 
meadows, and hedgerows to restore the special 
landscape and celebrate the rich working history 
of the ancient veteran trees rich in wildlife and wild flowers.
“The restoration of the orchard apples will 
produce fruit for ourselves and the local 
community and will serve as example to other 
landowners in our area who might wish to restore 
their orchards. The remaining few trees of our 
traditional orchards will be land managed. We 
wish to create a wildlife enhancement scheme 
ensuring the long-term social and environmental 
and economical sustainability of Muxbeare Orchard."

“Our focus will be to take care of our orchard 
and land; this will benefit the species of 
wildlife that we find in the orchard and ancient hedgerows.
“We are very concerned that the value of 
traditional orchards to wildlife is threatened by 
clearances and unsympathetic management. Too much 
tidying up of dead wood removes the habitat of 
rare species indigenous to that region. We will 
be taking a sympathetic management approach that 
concentrates on replanting to provide continuity 
of habitat, prolongs the live of old trees and may even prolong fruiting life.
"Key species that thrive in traditional orchards 
include the Lesser-Spotted Woodpecker, bats and 
insects. In particular, the larvae of the Noble 
Chafer Beetle lies on the dead wood of fruit 
trees. The Noble Chafer is a rare species listed 
in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, which gives 
management targets for the country’s most endangered wildlife.
“Rejuvenating Traditional Ancient Special 
Orchards aims to raise awareness about the 
importance our and other orchards in Devon and 
Willand area, to encourage the reporting of 
findings and to demonstrate best practice in the 
management of difference species with the 
replanting of old orchards, renovating the 
orchard in the landscape surroundings. The 
Muxbeare Orchard will encourage healthy local 
food, with apples and apple juice making.
“Muxbeare Orchard is all that has survived, 
making it a unique rare place with rare plants and animals.
"Agriculture in the 21st Century has been 
subsidised by a mixture of price-fixing, tariffs, 
and import quotas due to the Common Agriculture 
Policy (CAP) of the European Union."
Our farm is a micro-service which will encourage a local food economy
"It is our intention to preserve the orchard and 
the countryside. Most people who do work on the 
land cannot afford to live there since the 
commuters have driven the price of housing up, 
and there is now a reverse commute situation with 
farmers and labourers living in cheap lodgings in 
the towns and driving out to their place of work.
"This means that the old local economy, in which 
those who lived on the land also worked there and 
vice-versa, has been severely damaged, and with 
it the system of mutual support and commitments 
to the locality that was so vital in making the countryside what it is.
"Local shops and pubs expire, young people leave 
for the towns, and old people become increasingly 
isolated, deprived of services, transport and the means of survival."
Encouraging the small and local – family farms vs agribusiness
"The family farm is the backbone of the rural 
economy, and the most important generator of the 
distinctive British landscapes. Fiscal policy 
must be designed in order to make the family farm 
once again viable. This means abolishing the 
regulations that make it unprofitable, and 
encouraging the local food economy, local 
slaughterhouses and farmers’ markets. Many of 
these regulations proceed from the EU.
"Each out-of-town superstore cuts the market 
share of in-town food shops by up to 50%, and 
means an average loss of 276 full-time jobs in towns and high streets."
+44 (0)7786 952037
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic 
poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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