Monday, 17 September 2012

By Bike to Mansbridge Community Orchard

During the summer holidays, I had been looking after the children and they wanted to go on a bike ride. I needed to visit the Post Office and do one or two chores, so I decided on a suitable route and set off. During the trip I decided to teach the kids how to perform the classic cyclist’s “Scoot Start” and the reverse action “Side Dismount”. Easier said than done but they began to pick it up eventually.
After a full mornings riding we returned for lunch but the kids insisted on going out on bikes again as soon as we had finished. I hadn’t visited the Mansbridge Community Orchard for a while, so I thought we would zoom down and check it out.
We took a route through Riverside Park, then on through Woodmill and along the banks of Itchen past the Pitch & Putt course up to the old stone bridge that gives Mansbridge its name.
After this it was on foot through the meadow and into the trees to explore. As we worked our way through this beautiful place, we did remove some brambles and ivy, in amongst the apple trees. Stinging nettles are growing strongly there too, so shorts and sandals were not ideal but we did our best with what we had with us.
Some of the trees have obviously suffered badly with the poor weather this Spring but several are looking as if they will have a very healthy crop. There are so many trees in the site, that even if some fail, others will make up for it. 
One visit was not enough to account for all the trees and we didn’t really get much of a look along the Monk’s Path, so we need to get down there again soon to see if there is any fruit ripening alongside the houses. We did pick and eat copious amounts of Blackberries though...

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