Cider with Grundy: on the community orchard in Ambridge

Walton, S (2016) 'Cider with Grundy: on the community orchard in Ambridge.' In: Courage, C, Hadlam, N and Matthews, P, eds. The Archers in fact and fiction: academic analyses of life in rural Borsetshire. Peter Lang, Oxford, pp. 129-137. ISBN 9781787071193

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This chapter explores cultural and literary landscape of Ambridge through attention to the orchard. The practices of cider-pressing, wassailing, and drinking cider with 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 2/3rds 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, 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 Buy law that came in in 2011. 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 and site of shared local knowledge and meaning.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: School of Writing, Publishing and the Humanities
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Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2016 15:45
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:44
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