Academic Analyses of Life in Rural Borsetshire
Edited By Cara Courage, Nicola Headlam and Peter Matthews
will have you laughing and thinking.
Cider with Grundy: On the Community Orchard in Ambridge (Samantha Walton)
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Cider with Grundy: On the Community Orchard in Ambridge
This chapter explores the cultural and literary landscape of Ambridge through attention to the orchard. The practices of cider-pressing, wassailing, and drinking cider are all fundamental to village life. However, these traditions cannot be seen as uninterrupted, continuous, or unthreatened within the long history of Borsetshire. Since 1960, Britain has lost around two thirds of its orchards due to economic pressures, the rise of imported fruit, and changes in land use. In 1988, the environmental activist group Common Ground started the ‘Save Our Orchards’ campaign (Clifford and King n.d.), in which they attempted to spark interest in threatened orchards and urge communities to establish new ones. This hope was made a possibility with the new Community Right to Bid in 2011 (DCLG). Uncannily, within a month of the change in the law, Ambridge established its own community orchard, used for cider-pressing and rites and activities including wassailing and the Apple Day. This last festival was wholly invented by Common Ground as part of the Save Our Orchards campaign, and its purpose was to kindle communal and personal expressions about the meaning of nature-culture connections. Through attention to these contexts, I will read The Archers as a literature of place, reflective of histories of ecological and economic change in rural England, and of those cultural actions that sought to celebrate local distinctiveness and revive the notion of the orchard as a community asset...
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