Volunteers transform waste ground into new community orchard for village

Peta Hillier from the Community Orchard Group who are planting fruit trees on old waste ground in Sh

Peta Hillier from the Community Orchard Group who are planting fruit trees on old waste ground in Shotley Gate. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: Archant

Villagers are looking forward to picking delicious fruit in future, as a new community orchard is being planted.

The Community Orchard Group at Shotley Gate is planting fruit trees which the community can pick fro

The Community Orchard Group at Shotley Gate is planting fruit trees which the community can pick from in the future. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: Archant

Peta Hillier, of the Shotley Gate Community Orchard project, said: "The fruits here are going to be available for the community to take when they ripen."

A group of volunteers were busy at the weekend planting the new fruit trees, after a piece of land owned by the parish council, which was covered in brambles, was cleared with the aid of the community payback team..

Tony and Lucy Ingram from the Orchard Community Group at Shotley Gate plant a Morello Cherry tree in

Tony and Lucy Ingram from the Orchard Community Group at Shotley Gate plant a Morello Cherry tree in the new community orchard. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: Archant

Peta said: "I got the idea from Transition Woodbridge, who have these orchards. We plant them, we pay for them, care for them, and then we water them every week."

The trees being planted include rare traditional Suffolk apples, such as the St Edmund's russet and Lady Henniker varieties.

Steve Hawksley, 68 from Shotley Gate with one of the many fruit trees being planted in the village t

Steve Hawksley, 68 from Shotley Gate with one of the many fruit trees being planted in the village to create a community orchard. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: Archant

Peta added: "We have also got plums, peaches and cherries, so it's going to be beautiful in the springtime."

There are only expected to be a few fruits in the first year, she said. "But I'm just so pleased we've got these trees, because they come from the flood-ridden area of Worcestershire, so it's a miracle we've got them really."

A community orchard is being planted on old waste ground which has been cleared in Shotley Gate. Pic

A community orchard is being planted on old waste ground which has been cleared in Shotley Gate. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: Archant

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The villagers have paid for the trees themselves and the Parish council has also given a small grant for tree protectors and fencing.

The community orchard group hopes that the trees will bring not just fruit but a lovely area adjacent to the Heritage park and also help to increase pollinator insects and birds.

Peta Hillier from the Community Orchard Group with one of the fruit trees being planted on old waste

Peta Hillier from the Community Orchard Group with one of the fruit trees being planted on old waste ground in Shotley Gate. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: Archant

The orchard will also help to increase biodiversity in the area, especially as the group also hopes to plant wild flowers in the site and follow traditional mowing methods. The orchard will be entirely organic and cared for by the group using a water-butt nearby.

A variety of fruit trees are being planted on old waste ground at Shotley Gate which the local commu

A variety of fruit trees are being planted on old waste ground at Shotley Gate which the local community can harvest when it bears fruit. Picture: Neil Didsbury - Credit: Archant

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