Three new community orchards planted at green spaces in Stevenage
The orchards – comprising a mixture of apple, pear, mulberry, peach, and plum trees – were planted at Peartree Park, Letchmore Park and Bedwell Park. Pupils from local schools Letchmore Infants and Nursery School, Bedwell Primary School and Peartree Spring Primary School joined councillor Jim Brown (Old Town), and council officers for the planting of the trees.
Local residents are able to pick and make use of the fruit grown from the trees, and as they mature the orchards will also provide a habitat for wildlife, helping to support biodiversity. Local schools will also be able to use the sites for outdoor classroom activities in the future.
Stevenage Borough Council was successful in a bid to the Urban Tree Challenge and was awarded £30,000 to deliver six orchards at sites across Stevenage. Three orchards were planted last year at Shephalbury Park, St Nicholas Park and Raleigh Crescent open space.
Councillor Simon Speller, Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Environment, said: “Community orchards offer an excellent place for people to relax, work and learn in. They are a way of reviving an interest in traditional horticultural skills, while offering the opportunity for people to engage with nature and learn more about where their food comes from.
The planting of the three new orchards also coincides with the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative, commemorating 70 years of the late Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.”
Arabella, who attends Peartree School, said: “I have planted a real pear tree and I go to Peartree school!"
Phoebe, who attends Bedwell Primary School, said “I only live round the corner, so I can come back and eat the fruit from the trees soon.”
There are also community orchards at Hampson Park, Wellfield open space, Symonds Green and Mobbsbury Woods.