Gaggle of Geese, Buckland Newton, Dorset

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BACKGROUND:

The village of Buckland Newton is situated in beautiful Dorset countryside on the edge of the Dorset Downs and within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The village and surrounding hamlets have a population of around 600 and consist of a thriving mix of agricultural community, local businesses, homeworkers, workers in nearby towns and villages and retired people.

There is a Post Office, Village Shop, Primary School and nearby visitor attractions include the towns of Sherborne and Dorchester, the village of Cerne Abbas with its famous chalk giant and wonderful countryside for walking. Fishing, caravanning and camping facilities are all nearby, as are holiday cottages for rent. The nearest town is 10 miles away.

The village has one pub, The Gaggle of Geese. The pub was closed for three years until the current freehold owners, Simon and Sarah Colquhoun, bought the pub in 2017. After a 10-month refurbishment the pub re-opened in May 2018.

PROJECT SUMMARY:

The Gaggle of Geese has five acres of land that have been developed to provide pitches for tents and motor homes along with two Shepherd’s Huts for visitors.

During the first Autumn in 2018 they were open they were inundated with a glut of apples and pears from their own orchard and soon learned that trees in the rest of village were the same, generating a huge amount of wasted fruit.

When Simon and Sarah heard about Pub is The Hub and their community services fund they decided to apply for some help to turn their harvest into juice and cider. With a grant of £3,000 toward the cost of the equipment they have become proud owners of a scratter, a hydropress and all the equipment and bottles needed to complete the pressing.

Any money generated from sales of the juice and cider will go towards sustaining the project every year with the idea that, as word spreads, they will get more donations of apples. Drinkers of the juice are being asked to return the glass bottles for re-use with messages on the bottle labels.

The Village Shop is also selling the juice so some of the income helps to sustain the shop. Both the pub and shop are important assets for the village.

In addition, the grant has also funded some raised planters that will be installed on one side of the pub garden to grow fresh seasonal vegetables and Simon and Sarah are asking the local school to get involved with some of the planting.

OUTCOMES SO FAR:

Over four weekends in October and November 2019, over 20 volunteers from the local community have brought their own windfalls and leftover fruit to the pub as well as helping to gather the fruit glut from around the village.

Simon and Sarah have worked with the volunteers to help with collecting the apples and then washing and mashing to make the cider/juice.

In that time the community have created several batches of Buckland Newton Apple Juice filling 300 bottles and they are being sold in the pub and local shop. Each 750ml bottle is sold for £3.50 and is also given to guests staying at the pub in their campsite and Shepherd’s huts.

The last batch of juice from this year’s harvest is being made into 30 gallons of Buckland Newton Cider that will be ready in the new year.

The project has brought the community together to create a hand-made community juice and cider using local produce for which the area is famous.

LESSONS TO LEARN:

  • A community focused scheme can improve the wellbeing of a local area as long as it has the support of the community.
  • A community can take wasted produce and turn it into something profitable and sustainable for the community.
  • The goodwill and publicity generated by the project can help to boost visitor numbers to the area.
PROJECT COSTS:
Contribution from Licensee £1,000
Pub is The Hub Community Services Fund £3,000
Total Project Costs £4,000

 

Gaggle of Geese
Newton Buckland, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 7BS
01300 345249