The green and rolling countryside of Worcestershire, England, is home to the cider apple orchards which surround the gardens of Pear Tree Cottage. They enjoy a sunny south westerly aspect with sweeping views across to Martley Hillside, Woodbury and Abberley clock tower. The Teme Valley lies just over the hill and, not far away, is the Herefordshire border. Although our climate is temperate, our seasons are often uncertain and always a challenge to a gardener! This began in 2010 & follows the weekly ups and downs of garden work chronicling both successes and failures but, above all, demonstrates the fun enjoyed by three people who regularly garden in all weathers



Newly Restored pump
Raising the cast iron pipes
In the summer of 2005, whilst having a quick bite on the terrace between building jobs, Dave Gurney casually enquired about the depth of the well.  I had no idea but curiosity got the better of both of us!  With lunch remains left on the table, we immediately walked down to the pump and scraped back the gravel to reveal a cast iron plate.  Beneath the plate and peering into the depths; we found a perfectly functional 50' well.  the walls were built of  both stone and brick. Despite the fact the pump no longer worked - there was no stopping now!  

Time to enlist the help of an expert in the shape of Mr. J.W. Lane Snr. Much to my delight, he confirmed that the pump was indeed an original Thomas of Worcester's Climax Wind Pumps. This was very exciting news as I remembered meeting him when I was a little girl. He was a well-liked local benefactor fondly known as 'Pumpy' Thomas. Having  grown up on a farm with one of his windmills I knew that his was a very famous company in Perdiswell and also that he had exported pumps and windmills all over the world - as  far away as South Africa and Australia many of which are still working to this very day.  The following links are interesting:

Winter pump protection
It was time to take out the original well rods and cast iron piping - a pretty massive undertaking for Dave and one female helper! Mr. Lane of J.W. Lane Agricultural Engineers Ltd, Stanford Bridge, was absolutely marvellous.  He lent us a pulley and tripod, he gave us all sorts of invaluable and expert advice and information, he fitted a new leather washer and repaired the valve.  For just Dave and I, removing 50' of cast iron pipe was immensely heavy work but, there could be no giving up and some how, we succeeded - just! Each section was cleaned and painted with red oxide before being re-assembled with new well rods which were especially ordered from Canada. Canadian pine is to be preferred because of its great length and straightness of grain.

The well in 2016
When all the rods were re-assembled and the pipes replaced, we felt much trepidation.  We pumped the handle for what seemed like ages before we first heard the gurgling of water nearing the surface. When we actually saw water flowing out for the first time, there really was much jumping around and celebrating!!

Lastly Mr. Lane gave us the reeds from which we make an insulation jacket each winter.  With such a marvellous facility in the garden, we also fitted an electric submersible pump (bought from Mr. Lane!) which enables us to use the water around the garden as and when needed.  We are indeed most grateful to Mr. Lane for his help and advice.

One last coincidence was the fact that my father made me the circular hinged wooden cover years earlier for a hand dug 'Dog Bog' the top of which he lined with bricks.  It was the exact size of our well and remains in use today. 

Well (s'cuse the pun!) that was until April 2013 when Chris Genever and I (me as the navvie!) did some improvements to the brickwork, removed the rust from the well supports and applied a barrier of oil. See:

When garden lighting was installed, Dave ensured that he lit the well with a couple of down lights. In June 2017, a bulb was replaced and both were cleaned and dried out for open gardens.  After all, without exception, our visitors love to look down and wonder at its depth - just short of 50'.

The well in June 2017

The pump base June 2017