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The Dawn Chorus Trials Garden and Nursery and our “Grow-How, helping to grow” project

The Dawn Chorus ” Grow-How: helping to grow” project was established in 1985. We aim to share best practice in growing organic heritage plants, including wild flowers, food crops and native trees and shrubs. Summer times are busy. 30 heritage vegetable varieties, 25 heritage fruit varieties, 30 wildflower varieties & 35 native tree & shrub varieties can be propagated & grown on in the Dawn Chorus trials garden to distribute & use for educational purposes & as part of our learning/skills development initiative. Lincolnshire Snake Beans grow well, they produced seed for the UN” Year of the Pulse” project 2016. Heritage vegetable plants are given to local schools and nurseries for children’s educational activities. Our “Grow How: helping to grow” project, developed social media tools that have been take up by people looking for practical solutions.

Below: we have been growing heritage lettuce “Stoke” from our own seed for twenty years. We have experimented with growing Gerkins for pickles.



We create wild life habitats and showcase beneficial gardens. Hedgehog feeding & monitoring is continuous with groups of hedgehogs being fed & catalyzing publicity for the wider community to be involved in hedgehog welfare. Biological records are maintained, eg: a hummingbird hawk moth recorded on red valerian, became a popular social media post. Volunteers and children have compared designs of insect hotels and pictures have been put on to social media to draw attention to the project.

We think that organic practice is important. 80% of flowering plants, including food plants, are pollinated by bees, yet pesticides are decimating our beneficial insect population. Just think, a single wheat grain treated with neonicotinoid, the most widely used pesticide on the planet, will kill a song bird.

People often ask us about garden manure. Herbicides in farmyard manure & in some horse manure (picked up from pasture grazing & hay) can  contain aminopyralid – a hormone-type herbicide which goes under several trade names. It kills most vegetables & fruits if it gets in to compost or soil & it lasts in soil for many years. Remember also that herbicides & insecticides in most manure makes compost non organic. People using well rotted manure made into compost that has stood for over a year are finding gardens destroyed by residue from  herbicides, whilst pesticides kill beneficial insects, worms & soil biodiversity; they are not biodegradable & persist in soil causing damage for years.

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We plan Summers filled with fun, bringing people and communities together. This resource project feeds into social, therapeutic and educational activities that share and develop skills for employability and enrich peoples lives and wellbeing. The programmes increase the confidence and achievements of vulnerable people and promote mindfulness and healthy diet whilst offering people “a change of scene” by getting them out into nature and encouraging green gym activities. Our working partner John, said: “healthy earth creates healthy life”. Below: children’s activities, fun  cress growing and pea-pod play.

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We usually have a riot of seedlings and cuttings in propagation. The abundance of energy in the sprouting seedlings encapsulates the potential of green economy and sustainable communities. We work alone and in partnership to deliver environmental learning. This Dawn Chorus project is much in demand in the communities: stimulating organic horticultural and nature conservation activities; inspiring healthy food growing; developing understanding of the issues surrounding pollinating insects and soil and water conservation and saving heritage seeds.

Below: seedlings of heritage cress; globe artichokes and Indian mustard.





We have grown large leaved sorrel with seed provided by the Real Seed Company, so when our volunteers visited Burtom Agness walled garden on a field trip in 2019, we were delighted to find this crop.

Nature Mandalas

Mandala is the Sanskrit word for circle. Mandalas often have radiating patterns and can be found in nature; a good example is tree rings. Our stress-busting nature mandala events allow everyone to join in with this creative yet tranquil activity.

Children learn about hands-on practical skills, fractions, repeating patterns, measuring, diameter, radius, circumference, symmetry, colour, contrast, texture, balance, placement, mindfulness, value and appreciation, vocabulary and more.

Working with nature, we find two types of natural mandalas. Items in nature: flowers, shells and the center of fruits and vegetables, rosettes of succulent plants, fossils can all form natural mandalas. We can also make mandalas with found natural objects: leaves, flowers, stones, seeds and twigs, acorns, all make super mandalas. Working with and placing these elements is satisfying and promote relaxation, reducing our anxiety.



The patterns can be simple or complex. We use natural materials or, as part of our healthy eating projects, plant-based food items. Would you like to join us to make huge mandalas with piles of apples as part of our orchard projects?


Food Growing and Heritage Plants: project overview.



Above, fields of British wildflowers in the East Midlands.

Our heritage plants projects include ancient trees, traditional orchards, perennial vegetables, heirloom vegetable growing and seed saving as part of a sustainable plant-based diet, medicinal & culinary herbs, and wild plants and flowers. We promote the importance of composting and vermiculture and vegan organic no dig horticulture to protect our soil structures and soil organisms. Soil organisms fed by surface mulches of organic matter, create a healthy crumb structure within a firm soil with no disturbance of the soil life, micro-organisms, fungi and worms, that help feed plant roots.

 Heritage varieties of fruit and vegetable were forced to the edge by EU rules and commercial seed companies and agriculture; attitudes are changing. Thousands of different varieties of fruit and vegetable were grown by our  grandparents generation, on a small scale when these people lived off the land in rural areas. These historical varieties contribute genetic variety that will be vital as we fight to survive climate change

Below: child feeling heritage French beans, pumpkin bed and traditional orchard medlar fruit.




We raise awareness of the need for open pollinated plants and creating a healthy environment for pollinating insects. Try to avoid F1 hybrid seeds. Saving your own seed & propagating your own plants for your garden is cheap and it protects the survival of heritage plants. Some plants are wind pollinated but many insects are pollinators, along with some animals. The insects include many different species of bees, flies, wasps, beetles, butterflies and moths. Even houseflies and mosquitoes are much needed pollinators. Hoverflies are great pollinators, visiting over 72% of global food crops and over 70% of animal-pollinated wildflowers. They are migratory, travelling hundreds of kilometres daily and carrying pollen over 100 kilometres across open water. Wild pollinators pollinate about 90% of insect pollinated crops with honey bees responsible for the rest. With out them we would have no food, yet three UK bumblebee species have recently become extinct and the European Red List for Bees warns that one in ten species of wild bee face extinction. In 50 years we have seen the decline of half the bee, butterfly and moth species studied in the 2013 State of Nature Report. Modern farming by intensive, poisonous chemical means using fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides hand in hand with the destruction of habitats; urbanisation and climate change have created this situation. We encourage gardeners to help to redress the balance.

Below insect pollinated heritage garden plants.



Activities In National Insect Weeks


Our volunteers monitor biodiversity – how many different species live in an ecosystem. They make butterfly counts and record moths, lady birds, shieldbugs, dragonflies, bees and spiders, beetles and other insects on an ongoing basis. But in national insect week we share our findings with our supporters. Photographs shown here are by volunteers and supporters. Below: spider by our supporter Christina Cudworth Franson.



Monitoring takes place across our whole area of benefit.

National Insect Week


Our records have been submitted to Nottinghamshire Geological and Biological Records Office for many years. Our in house, specially designed volunteer species monitoring form has been in use on specified sites since the 1970’s and provide a valuable data set. Our volunteers are interested in linking in with East Midlands iSpot based at Nottingham University. Monitoring biodiversity has many benefits. Monitoring population sizes of protected species in conservation areas gives outlines the success of
conservation practice. Monitoring invasive species and infectious organisms, such as Varroa mite, can trigger corrective action. This is vital as biodiversity is being lost at national and international level. A number of species have become extinct in the UK in recent years.
The two photographs below are by our volunteer and supporter Gaina Cee:



Warren Priest is looking for help in identifying 400 species of beautiful moths. Warren photographed the moths in Sikkim Province India. A link to Warren’s photographs can be found in our links section. If you can help, please contact us in the first instance.

Making dead-wood piles for insect habitats, is always a popular activity with our volunteers.


Our volunteers made daily photographic records of this tree bumblebee colony in the run-up to National Insect week 2013, posting it on twitter at the start of the week. It was a great way to engage interest.

National Insect Week

We planted native pollen & nectar plants. The nations starving bees can not fend of virus attack and are weak in the face of agri-chemical poisoning. Our publicity campaigns during National Insect Week ask supporters to plant for bees & butterflies and be organic gardeners.

Remember to plant for night pollinators. Whilst plants such as annual poached egg plant, Limnanthes douglasii (which can grow in poorly drained clay soils) is great by day, Matthiola longipetala, known as night-scented stock or evening stock, is a species of ornamental plant that is brilliant and attractive in the evening.




Volunteers and Friends.



What people are saying about us:

“Dawn Chorus Educational Initiative is an absolute authority on engaging people on urgent issues that matter. The influential community education programmes, led by this Community Interest Company, make a real difference to the lives of people who are welcomed and encouraged to participate in volunteering and admirably passionate activities that celebrate our heritage in style and offer high rewards to animals and the environment”,   Sarah B., supporter.

“Through the encouragement of behavioral change and by offering people opportunities to learn skills and get involved in making hands on practical contributions, Dawn Chorus is making a lasting, positive impact on social, environmental and animal welfare in our local communities. The activities build self confidence and personal satisfaction, drawing on the calming tranquility of nature, the arts and respect for each other and for animals, whilst growing understanding and appreciation of horticulture, wildlife, landscape conservation, culture  and heritage”,   E. Barley, supporter.


Each year Dawn Chorus thanks our volunteers by holding a volunteers Valentine snowdrop walk. Previous popular walks when our volunteers have been blessed with glorious sunshine and  fabulous displays of snowdrops,  have taken place in Lambley, Lincoln, woodborough and Epperstone.  These interest filled, social walks end with visits to local churches and refreshments. In 2015, glossy ibis, lesser spotted woodpecker & a little owl were spotted in same field at same time by Dawn Chorus volunteers on the volunteers valentine snowdrop walk.


We especially thank the volunteers who work at our partner animal sanctuaries, for the hard work they do. They turn up every day to work outside even in the worst of weathers. Animal sanctuary volunteers do some of the hardest, heaviest & dirtiest work. It is often very upsetting. Animal sanctuary volunteers have to feed  & care for animals every day, even on Christmas day; Kirkby Pet Rescue volunteer Celia said: “day off, what is that?”




Dawn Chorus Educational Initiative works in the community and has built social capital which can be drawn on at times, such as now, when economic capital is short. Our studies  demonstrate that our contribution to building social & voluntary capital makes the community more resilient and self-starting, directly addressing social issues and having economic value; feeding into the local economy.

Our Vegan Cozy Kitchen: Dawn Chorus volunteers have been running our Vegan Cozy Kitchen Project since 1992. The project took off in popularity in 2000, during our millennium celebration. It is a virtual place for friends to share vegan recipes and chat about volunteering. Many popular recipes have been shared over the years; our Pinterest board is full of resources and supporters often request recopies and information on our Facebook page. Our most popular recipe ever was our Dandelion Fizz, traditionally made on St. Georges day.


Help us as we strive to enrich lives, foster enterprise and build communities. From the Nottinghamshire coalfields to orphanages in the poorest countries of Africa, you can make a huge difference by helping people to gain skills and learn about well-being, food growing, sustainability, the natural environment, animal welfare, arts, crafts and cultural heritage.

What you can do to help? Bake off: can you bake a few cakes, sell them to your friends & forward the money to our good causes…then sit back and take all the praise for your great baking? Your friends will love you! Cup cakes & cookies? Yes Please!

We are asking you to hold bake sales, or office cake sales to raise vital funds. We can supply you with easy but irresistible recipes and leaflets to tell your friends about the important work that they will be supporting by buying your delicious cakes. email:

You could make the vegan cake below, in a square tin and cut it into squares to sell to raise funds for our important work. Find the recipe by following our link to  “veganindulgence”, a blog by our supporter Andrew Jones.


Andrew Jones volunteers to help run the “Earthwise” group and says: “It is a great pleasure to be asked to write this for Dawn Chorus. I became vegetarian in April of 2012 after reading the “animal issue” of Resurgence magazine but have always felt that it was really a stepping stone to veganism. Over the following months I became more and more uncomfortable with eggs and dairy and gradually began phasing them out. I became officially vegan in October 2012 and it has been the best decision ever and a lot more easy than I ever thought. Why am I vegan? Because ultimately we do not have any physiological need for animal products in our diets, and indeed to the contrary they cause a whole host of disease. So if we don’t “need” them I have to ask – is the continued abuse, exploitation and slaughter of animals for what is essentially a palate pleasure morally acceptable? Unequivocally the answer is no! Add to this the damage the meat and dairy industry causes to our environment and it is a no brainer really. I started my blog to showcase excellent and indulgent vegan eating.  I hope you can make and enjoy my cake.”

At Dawn Chorus Educational Initiative, our committed volunteers give their time to support others in the community. Our volunteers have really made a difference, working on creative and life skills projects. They often take urgent positive action for animals or the environment or continue to expand our community educational resources.

Our volunteers work on our lace heritage projects as part of our educational design history programme. It encompasses historical research, identifying local and regional uniqueness, raising awareness and appreciation of traditional local framework knitting, hosiery & lace buildings, that are being rapidly destroyed. We supply traditional local style craft tools, made from local, sustainable materials and encourage creative traditional skills, nurturing enterprising attitudes and stimulating cultural and economic benefits.

Our Dawn Chorus bird, designed by local artist Naomi McArthur, is featured one of our lace bobbins pictured below. Watch out for items for sale in our online shop. Some of the sales items have been made by our volunteers, others by mental health service users as part of training activities.

Our volunteers photographed a fine old crabapple tree, pictured below, on one of our guided walks. Volunteers pointed out the rows of hairs on the edges of the bud scales that assist winter identification. Unusually this tree was one in a loose row; they usually grow singly in hedgerows. Black birds were seen under the trees eating the fallen fruit and the caterpillar of an eyed hawk moth was spotted in a crevice.

Stories about the work of our wildlife welfare & rescue volunteers are very well received by the public, highlighting the appreciation for and realization of the importance of this work. Our volunteers do an inspiring job, with great passion, contributing to all aspects of our work. We celebrate the vital work of our volunteers during Volunteers Week and the value & impact that it has on people’s lives and our communities.

Volunteers on our guided family walks have helped children to see: a pair of dippers, a pair of barn owls, a pair of ravens and a pair of little egrets on just one walk. 

Dawn Chorus was a very close runner-up in a regional public vote for best community environmental group. We were nominated by Crown Estates. Only a very few votes decided the winning outcome. We enjoyed the activity and gained a huge amount of positive feedback. Laura Norton from Crown Estates said: “Everyone was really impressed with all the fantastic work that you do so a big well done, especially to your volunteers. “ We wish to thank everyone who voted for us and all of our supporters, we value every one of you. The colourful inflatable beetle, pictured below, was a crowd puller at this sustainability event.

In volunteers week, at the start of June, the Dawn Chorus & Juno Enterprise message is delivered directly to 18,000 third sector partners & supporters, with the help of social enterprise & third sector network partners. In addition, we regularly directly deliver messages to 169,404  individuals on work that our volunteers carry out, that is vital in the current economic climate. Updates on our work are sent out to every county and city third sector infrastructure organisation in the East Midlands. “Communications” continue to be a theme at Dawn Chorus. We are working with target online communities, on natural and cultural heritage, human and animal well-being, community education and third sector issues. Dawn Chorus campaign information has been networked to 71,197 individuals, through face to face contact, at conferences & with individuals via social networking. Our consultations with stakeholders have received positive feedback from 420 individuals on specific issues & feedback from over 910 individuals on general issues. Dawn Chorus has 5,024 supporters and 379 partners of which 136 are working partners and 243 are in our active co-operative network, some have been with us since 1985.

What a difference volunteers can make! Dawn Chorus volunteers have released birds that have recovered from treatment and rehabilitation, including garden birds that have been attacked by cats; our volunteer Andrew said: “it is great to see them flying high above the trees, healthy and free”. So a big thank you to our volunteers.

Our supporter & volunteer wildlife photographer Ellie sent us the picture below of a cute little fox; Ellie said: “Nothing like a bit of urban wildlife”; we agree.

Ivy project

Ivy is one of our most valuable wildlife plants and our only evergreen native climbing shrub. Given this, it is one of the species that we have chosen to target in our educational work. The only ivy native to the UK is Hedera helix. Only Hedera Helix has the full wildlife value as it bears flowers and berries which many of the cultivars do not. It has distinct juvenile and adult growth forms. It tolerates low light levels and a range of soils, favouring woodland where it provides good ground cover. In winter it benefits insects and small mammals by providing a foraging area for ground feeding birds such as thrushes and dunnocks. The dense vertical cover provides an ideal shelter and roost site for birds and bats such as the pipistrelle. Many species of bird such as wren, dunnock, blackbird and spotted flycatcher nest in ivy covered walls or trees. Several moth species depend on ivy as a larval food-plant and caterpillars of species such as the swallow-tailed moth, the old lady and the willow beauty can often be found feeding on the leaves. The holly blue butterfly is dependent on ivy as a food plant for its second generation caterpillars. Many species of butterfly (including Red admiral), moth, hoverfly, green bottle, wasp and bee are attracted to fuel up for hibernation at the flowers. It provides a very rich late summer to autumn nectar food, when other nectar sources are scarce; indeed queen wasps depend on these December flowers. The berries are an important food source for birds, including blackbirds, woodpigeons, collared doves, robins and blackcaps as well as small mammals such as wood mice.


Comma, Painted Lady, small tortoiseshell and brimstone butterflies hibernate in ivy.


Ivy is not parasitic and draws sustenance through its earth roots, using the fibber fingers only to cling to non living, non vascular vertical bark surfaces. Indeed ivy becomes self supporting and can often retain its upright bush form after the death and decay of a tree, hence extending the valuable habitat. Ivy wood is strong yet flexible and has a forking characteristic; it has traditionally been used to make pitch forks. The plant has a range of folk uses. Ivy only climbs relatively mature trees and does not cause many problems. People often think that it is taking over a tree; however what is happening is that the tree may be old or have a fungal infection that is to blame for its reduced canopy and the ivy is taking advantage to fill the void and provide a new wildlife habitat. The spread of the plant in the crown of the tree can deprive the leaves in the tree canopy of sunlight. In the case of a dead or dying tree, it is possible that the wind could catch ivy and cause break out but more often ivy protects tree trunks by dissipating wind. In such cases strategic trimming of the ivy foliage can help (it is not all trimmed at once but the impact to wildlife is spread by rotating the areas trimmed over a number of years) but cutting the ivy stem is pointless, it will not reduce the foliage but will be unsightly and useless to wildlife. This work should be a last resort: avoid trimming during flowering and fruiting (berries stay on the bush between November and April), avoid bird nesting season (March-July) and get a professional bat survey as bat roosts are protected by law.


Our Orchard Projects

Since 1985 Dawn Chorus and Juno Enterprise have built up a reputation for leading on orchard projects. We have been the registered East midlands lead on heritage orchards since our CEO wrote the Nottinghamshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan for orchards.  Prior to this board members piloted interest in orchards in Essex, the West Midlands, Northumberland and Nottinghamshire. We liaise with a number of national groups to facilitate orchard information and network opportunities regionally. Dawn Chorus organizes orchard activities as part of our “out to learn” opportunities. We develop new and innovative orchard projects with new groups in new locations. We encourage orchard habitat creation, promote the replanting of hedgerow fruit trees (such as damson, traditional in the county, which are under particular threat) and give advice on sensitive and sustainable land management, including traditional orchard restoration and recreation with local heritage varieties. Our volunteers survey orchard fauna and flora. Evaluate data to determine conservation priorities. We have “mapped routes to market”, stimulating demand for traditional orchard products.  Community members and groups enjoy the historical and cultural activities associated with orchards, from regional wassailing to making huge apple mandalas. They learn to use wood and fruit in a range of ways such as our traditional apple bread, pictured below.



Above: our 2015 “Be Healthy” Wassail. The old Staffordshire slip trailed mug is pressed into service every year. Barley wine is traditional for wassail in Nottinghamshire but Blue Barrel perry is delicious and made locally in Colwick. Apple juice and apple pies – our “pips to pies project”, are a great hit and children love to try on the Holly Kings hat at our “Dawn Chorus Press Fests”


We encourage securement of heritage varieties, grafting and own root propagation methods. We carried out research with national bittersweet experts, via the Marches Group, into specific varieties. We carry out orchard mapping using historic maps and oral history projects to identify surviving and lost orchards and undertake fieldwork to establish condition, raise awareness of the wildlife and wider benefits of orchards. We are currently producing an orchard booklet.



Orchards are a rich resource. Villages such as Lambley in Nottinghamshire had a considerable number of orchards, growing fruit for market and some varieties were ready to supply stalls for the Goose Fair. Sadly, many orchards have been lost to the development of housing, road building, industry and golf courses. We see a lack of understanding of the cultural, environmental, health and wildlife significance of orchards. Traditional management, pruning skills and grass sward care are now rare and the special habitat that they provide are under threat. Old varieties give way to modern commercial bush varieties with heritage trees often grubbed up or are not replaced due to lack of economic incentive. Modern management practice such as clearing dead wood, using pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides and strimmers are detrimental.

Heritage orchards may occupy the same land for centuries & with low chemical input can provide a biodiversity haven. Fruit trees provide a long flowering and fruiting period, offering nectar and fruit for wildlife over the maximum periods of time. Blossom and windfalls provide nectar for bumblebees and butterflies, moths and other insects and autumn and winter food for mammals, insects, mollusks and birds, respectively. A neglected orchard may have become a rich wildlife site with a mosaic of habitats. Hedge boundaries, wood pasture features, varying vegetation, individual fruit trees, decaying wood, species rich grassland understory, nectar sources and water elements can all be important in providing food, shelter and breeding sites.


If you have old fruit trees that no longer produce fruit, have remedial pruning by a reputable specialist to rejuvenate. Retain trees that no longer fruit or are dead as a landscape and wildlife feature on your land as long as safe to do so, they provide bat roosts, help hole nesting birds and invertebrates. Fruit trees are relatively short-lived, consequently producing more dead wood habitat more quickly. Bark provides can an anchor for lichen, moss and epiphytes invertebrates; lichens growing on the trees are used by the Hook-tip moth. The Red-belted Clearwing moth lays it’s eggs on rough, cankered large apple and pear branches, the larvae then live under the bark.


Hedges add greater biodiversity gain, extending nest sites and nectar sources. Mistletoe gives cover for insects and has its own weevil. Apple trees support Eyed Hawk–moth larva; near-by willow and poplars would increase this month’s habitat. Orchard hedges are important to the Pinion-spotted Pug moth which may need apple and hawthorn to feed and complete its life cycle. Lunar-spotted Pinion moth will benefit from orchard hedges, where its larva can feed on elm, blackthorn and hawthorn as well as apple. Ivy should be encouraged; it provides cover for insects and nesting birds and a late nectar source for insects and berries for birds such as black birds, song thrushes, mistle thrushes, Redwing, collared doves, robins, black caps and wood-pigeon. Grass sward should be cut for hay to encourage diverse flora and could contain a ponds for the wildlife.


Above: blossom of the Merryweather Damson.
Nottinghamshire has a number of unique fruit varieties with a traditional local mix gene pool, suited to sustainable orchard habitat management. The synergy with local wildlife can be influenced by local wild fruit that gave rise to ancient cultivars. Crab apples were often planted at the centre of orchards to aid fertility. Buy locally grown orchard fruit to encourage orchard growers to extend stock. Below: Pitmaston Dutchess is a very big and most delicious, juicy pear.


A-apple, Py-pear, D-damson, P-plum, G-guage *local name ** locally notable
Berzock (Py)* Barnack Beauty(A) Winter Quarrendon (A)**
Louie Bonn (Py)* Barnack Orange(A) Meech’s Prolific Quince
Beeley Pippin (A) Screveton Golden(A) Bradleys king (D)**
Crimson Bramley (A)** Conference (Py) Holland Pippin(A)
Grantonian (A)** Worcester Black (Py) Early Rivers (P)
Nottingham Pippin (A)** Allington Pippin(A) James Greaves(A)
Johnny Rawes (P)** Ingall’s Pippin(A) Grimoldby Golden(A)
Pickering’s Seedling (A)** Brown’s Seedling (A) Ellison’s Orange(A)
Radford Beauty (A)** Drewdrey’s Seedling (A) Ingall’s Red(A) Sissons Worksop Newton (A)** Dr. Clifford (A) Black(Py)*
Hazel (Py) Walnut Lamb’s Seedling (A) Queen Caroline (A)
Nottingham Meddlar** Worcester Pearmain (A) St. Aildred (A)
Merryweather Seedling (D)** Victoria (P) Philodelphia(A)
Bramley’s Seedling (A)** Czar/golden/cambridge (G) Sleeping Beauty (A)
Lemmon Pippin (A) Blenheim Orange (A) Wm. Ingall (A)
Nottingham Colonel (A) Russet (A) Herring’s Pippin(A)

Peasgood’s Nonsuch (A)** Marriage Maker (A) Dummelow’s Seedling(A)
Barron Ward (A)** Stripped Russian (A) Northern Greening (A) Domino (A) Prince Charles (A) Lord Burleigh (A)
Beauty of Stoke (A)** Meads Broading (A) Belvoire Seedling(A)
Besspool (A)** Mrs. Willmott (A) Warwickshire Drooper (P)
Flower of Kent(A) Newton Wonder(A) Annie Elizabeth)*


Orchards can be protected directly or indirectly in a number of ways: as trees, landscape features, or habitats with biodiversity value. The 1999 Town and country planning act via TPO’s, can protect fruit trees, usually in urban areas, for amenity purposes. They can be applied to whole orchards or individual trees. Further, orchards can be designated under PPS9 Circular (para 88) if they benefit biodiversity and conservation. Wildlife associated with orchards, eg: invertebrates or the botanical grass land mix could offer protection to sites via designation. Consideration could be given to SSSI, Local Nature Reserve or County Wildlife Site potential. In the cases of semi natural or uncultivated (neglected) sites, with unimproved grass land, significant populations of BAP species, historic features or with specific landscape value, Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations could provide protection. Larger orchards should be considered under forestry EIA regulations.


(above: Quince fruit)
If you are lucky your orchard could be home to: the Noble chafer (Gnorimus nobilis),Bumble bees (Bombus) leaf cutter bees and other wild and solitary bees. Wasps, hornets (vespa crabro) and hover flies, many Butterflies, Mistletoe Weevil (Ixapion variegatum), Mistletoe bug (Anthocoris visci), Red-belted clearwing moth (Synanthedon myopaeformis), Eyed Hawk-moth (Smerinthus ocellata), Pinion-spotted Pug (Eupithecia insigniata), Lunar-spotted Pinion (Cosmia pyralina), Beautiful Hook-tip (Laspeyria flexula). Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhulla), Song Thrush (Tardus philomelos), Mistle Thrush (Tardus viscivorus), Wood Pigeon (columba palumbus) , Linnet(Carduelis cannabina), Spotted flycatycher (Muscicapa striata),Tree creeper (Certhia familiaris), Nuthatch (Sitta europaea), Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus), Owls, Woodpeckers (eg: Green woodpecker/Picus viridus), Turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur), Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris),Redwing (Tardus iliacus),Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus),Hedgehog: (Erinaceus europaeus),Bats,Wood mouse( Apodemus sylvaticus), hedgehog, Common toad (Bufo bufo) and if you have a pond,fish, frogs ans newts including the Great crested newt (Triturus cristatus) and Grass snake (Natrix natrix). You may have a Wild crab apple Malus ssp with Mistletoe (Viscum album), Lichen (Parmelia acetabulum), mosses, Ivy (Hedera helix) and tree fungi; a grass sward with Wild daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus), primrose (Primula vulgaris) or cowslip (Primula veris). If you have a hedge look out for violets, jack by the hedge and stitchwort.


Above: quince blossom.


Above: orchards form an important part of our heritage landscape.


About Us.


Helping Children To Explore & Learn In The Natural Environment

Children Exploring the natural environment

Above children exploring the natural environment at Clumber Park.

We hear about Nature Deficit Disorder & plenty of evidence exists to endorse the physical and mental health benefits of nature. Parents have told Dawn Chorus that they want healthy, outdoor activity for younger children, to help the children to learn about nature.
Children learn early & form links, this is true of their relationship to nature. Research shows that youngsters who re introduced to a site early in life will usually, if possible return to the place, maintaining the relationship, children can become “site buddies” and contribute to conservation volunteering.


Above: family activities.

Since 1985 we have developed a range of educational resources & learning opportunities for children on a range of issues: animal welfare, wellbeing, the arts, cultural and natural heritage often helping parents, toddlers and pre-school children to explore nature together.

We constantly update & expand our learning resources for Key Stages: 1, 2 & 3.

We recently helped with shelter building and story telling activities for preschool children, brewing up hot chocolate, hammering with wooden mallets, tying ropes, telling stories, practicing communication and teamwork skills and getting lots of fresh air.


Above: colour and texture in nature.

Learning mechanisms used in our programmes:
• Through improving learning pathways & people’s learning experience.
• Through engagement & involvement.
• Through distribution & sales of resources.
• Through inspiring people (for example, to get involved with food growing).
• Through skills sessions.
• Through engaging teachers & educators.


Children learn about art in the landscape, as above.

Our Board of Directors has unprecedented experience in the following areas; we strive to embed them into our programme delivery:

Skills for employability.

Student business planning sessions.

Wider key skills and basic skills.

Outdoor and forest school learning.

Arts education and creative and heritage learning.

National Open College Network credits towards full qualifications


“What is this?” Child’s found object, family walking session April 2013.

Children on DCEI CIC activities seem to value the same natural features as do wildlife. By protecting such areas for biodiversity in a wild state, are we not ensuring space in which our children can exercise through physically play, a place to develop social skills and mental agility?



Wild places can sustain psychological resiliance and wellbeing.

We believe that children & young people are the most important resource in our society & we strive to enable them to make a positive contribution.

“Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.” –  Barack Obama

Children taking part in Earth Day action and learning about responsibilities and sustainability.


Exploring Ceramics

Dawn Chorus and Juno Enterprise have been delivering ceramic practice and ceramic history learning since 1982; with extensive pilot sessions, publications and exhibitions on clays, glazes, kiln building and ceramic history.

We have researched the design of sustainable wood fired kilns, considering temperature and atmosphere.  Kilns must reach required temperatures and yet withstand the temperature. Air flow designs, how the air that enters the firebox, is heated and travel through the kiln and out of the chimney, may be up draught or down draught. Oxygen is also needed for the burn and enters at the fire box. The firebox size in comparison or ratio to the kiln chamber volume is important in the design, especially in terms of  sustainable efficiency, this is hugely helped by good insulation.  Wood firing has another consideration, when choosing building materials we must remember the highly alkaline nature of the wood fire atmosphere…traditional firebrick is eaten away by a wood firing schedules. Not all kiln designs  include separation of firebox and the chamber, for example Anagama kilns. But our primary aim is to find a non fossil fuel design, using short rotation coppice that supports biodiversity and locks carbon in growth and a lean burn, non polluting design that sustainably uses the wood without carbon loss that would add to climate change…whilst still reflecting traditional craft practice. The National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Green Task Force have been looking at such issues. Professor Ben Culbertson of Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, carried out work to utilizes renewable fuels to fire a kilns; his work focused on vegetable oils.

Whilst we have extensive knowledge of industrial and studio ceramics, it is our expertise in traditional British rural ceramics and international indigenous ceramic (see our link to the Ethiopian Widows Pottery-linked to EWKET) that is leading our research and practice.

We are interested in how different species of wood reflect in glazes and in wild pottery, digging and processing clay locally.

Both organisations have board members who are ceramic experts, including studio potters, ceramic historians and ceramic archaeologists.