VOLUNTEERS have planted up a new community orchard, filled with a variety of fruit trees.
The Ferring Community Orchard planting project had to be postponed in January due to bad weather but a band of 30 turned out on Thursday to finally set the ball rolling.
Spades were at the ready at Glebelands Recreation Ground, in Rife Way, along with 19 trees - 13 Sussex heritage apple varieties, plus two pear, two plum and two cherry trees.
Ferring Conservation Group organised the project and John Coote from the Brighton Permaculture Trust was on hand to give expert advice and ensure correct planting by the novice volunteers.
David Bettiss, group chairman, said: “The Ferring Community Orchard is a great example of the local community coming together to provide an excellent addition to the village scene.
“It will improve the biodiversity in the area. It will provide fruit in years to come and will be an area of interest for local people and visitors.
“I am very grateful to our individual members who have paid for the trees, in many cases as tributes to loved ones no longer here, and all the partners we have worked with closely to make the project a reality. I am very pleased to finally see all the trees planted and hopefully the orchard develop into the future.”
This orchard was supported by a grant from Ferring Parish Council and Arun District Council gave their permission as the landowner. Joining the 26 conservation group members were community parks officer Martyn Burkinshaw and Ferring Country Centre manager Malcolm Linfield, with helpers Jamie and Andrew.
Community orchards are a Government initiative that helps communities to make the most of their green spaces.
Orchards were once widespread throughout the British Isles and until recent times every farm, country house and suburban garden had its own fruit trees.
Pressure on land for new houses and roads, and the importation of cheap fruit from abroad, has caused the loss of many of these small orchards. The acreage of commercial orchards has declined rapidly, too.
Community orchards help to revive an interest in fruit growing and provide a way of sharing knowledge and horticultural skills, as well as stimulating people into growing food for themselves again.
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