Dunsden Green is an Oxfordshire village approximately halfway between Reading and Henley-on-Thames. Ten years ago Dunsden Community Orchard was created on land next to the village green. A carefully worked out planting scheme features historic varieties of apple, pears and plums, ranging from one of the earliest known varieties called Decio to an apple praised by Shakespeare and more modern hybrids with local connections. Local people have sponsored trees and work together on the maintenance of the 0.6 hectare site. Poor drainage and a lack of volunteers have dogged the project but new members are always welcome!
The village was also once home to the WW1 poet Wilfred Owen. He arrived, aged 18 in 1911, to work as assistant to the Rector and to prepare for university entrance. He gave talks in the village’s ‘Mission Hall’ which was located on the village green. His religious vocation was tested by the poverty and disease in this rural community which was at odds with the lavish lifestyle of the Rector. A short smartphone and leaflet-based trail created by Dunsden Owen Association bring the area to life and there will be a small exhibition in the village hall.
Entrance to the orchard is free and short talks will be provided. Teas will be available in the village hall.