During last year, I applied for a bench to be erected on the Lickeys in Les' memory, only to be told by Birmingham Parks Dept. (who administer the Hills) that they were not putting up any more as there "are already more than enough".
Then, a few months ago, I heard that the Lickey Hills Society (which we have been members of for some years) has been working with the Park Rangers to create a Community Orchard, in a very quiet, and previously neglected area of the Hills which is only a few hundred yards from the Visitor Centre but down a not-very-much-used path (actually called "Drovers Way"). The path eventually comes out to the Old Birmingham Road almost opposite the Old Rose and Crown pub at the foot of Rose Hill. Forty-two fruit trees, all old traditional Worcestershire varieties, not grown commercially any more and in danger of being lost, have been planted and the Society were looking for "contributions". Peter and Helen have given a very generous donation and "our" tree is No.6, an apple called Sandlin Duchess. This variety was raised in about 1880 by a Mr. Gabb at Sandlin near Malvern and subsequently introduced by William Crump, the head gardener at Madresfield Court.
The first two pics. show me with Peter and Hazel when we first looked at the Orchard a few weeks ago, to decide if it was what we had in mind as a memorial, as we had also been invited to participate in another scheme near the Old Rose and Crown. The peace and tranquility of the Orchard appealed to us more than the other, which is much closer to the main road and therefore noisier.
Today (12/5/14) I decided to go and look at "our" tree whilst still (hopefully) in blossom - and I plan to re-visit each May and photograph it as it grows. What I had not realised is that the Orchard is surrounded by bluebells and the remaining pics. show how the whole area looks today. The ground drops away down to a bridge over a small muddy stream and then a footpath leads off into the Hills. There were a couple of ducks poddling around in the stream! Not a sound other than birds. Idyllic.
The other reason for choosing tree no. 6 is that it is close to the centre of the Orchard, which has been designed with an open space in the middle where the Rangers were hoping to place a picnic bench. They were delighted when I said I would sponsor it.