Community orchard scheme for Clare bears fruit
PUBLISHED: 19:30 25 February 2019
Two new fruit orchards have put down roots in Clare.
The trees were planted in two sites in the town – the cemetery and at Clare country park – with the aim of providing free fruit for the community for years to come.
Volunteers including firefighters, guides and brownies were joined by South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge, Clare county councillor Mary Evans and members of Clare Town Council in planting the 15 apple trees, two pear trees, plus a damson, plum, green gage and quince trees on Friday February 22.
The scheme was the idea of Clare Town Council member Davina Neale.
She said the species planted were not quick-fruiting trees with a limited lifespan but ones that would still be there a century from now.
“The fruit will be available for the whole community to pick with surplus fruit to be offered out,” she said.
“Fresh fruit is expensive and there’s the carbon footprint of importing fruit in, as well as the packaging it attracts.
“It will encourage future generations to eat locally-grown produce as well as providing habitat for wildlife and the fruit that can’t be picked at the top the birds will be able to eat.
“The cemetery is a lovely peaceful location for the orchard and will provide some solitude for those who wish to sit amongst the trees.
“The orchard also ties in with the community beehive project, the bees we will be bringing to the town will also help to pollinate the trees as well as having our own Clare Honey to be sold and invested back into the project.
“It’s been a really worthwhile project and I have been so lucky to have had so much support and help from the town.
“I would like to thank everyone who was involved and made it all possible. I hope future generations will cherish the orchard and for it to continue to bring the community together.”
The trees were provided by Orchards East, an environmental project in East Anglia which works to protect and promote orchards and which is backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
South Suffolk MP James Cartlidge said: “I was so impressed with the huge effort put in by Davina and her team to deliver this excellent tree planting scheme.
“With the local fire brigade, town council, county councillor, church and families from the area all piling in to support this project it really was a case of the community in action.
“On a previous visit to Clare primary I spoke with pupils about their efforts to deal with plastic waste, and this underlines that this is a part of Suffolk which values the environment and the principle of nurturing it for future generations.”
Clare County Councillor Mary Evans said: “This was a true community effort to plant the orchard which Clare residents will treasure for many years to come.
“Already people are talking about the events that either can be hosted in the orchard or using its produce such as an annual apple day or jam making.
“Congratulations and thanks to Clare Town Councillor Davina Neale, who led the project, and to all the volunteers who supported it.”
Howard Jones from Orchards East said: “I am delighted that the trees were provided by the Orchards East project which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.”
Pat Abbott from the Environment Agency said: “A great initiative to encourage pollinators, these trees will provide important habitat for years to come. It is a real benefit for biodiversity.”