Fruit orchard takes root in town’s park

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Dartmouth Park was visited by a group of volunteers last week as they planted a 30 tree community orchard.

Residents, Friends of Dartmouth Park, Churwell Environmental Group, Morley Elderly Action, Fountain Primary School, Bruntcliffe Academy, businesses, councillors and park staff all helped plant the orchard.

It is one of seven being planted across Leeds with the support of Helping Britain Blossom.

Helping Britain Blossom, The Urban Orchard Project and The Bulmer Foundation, is providing expertise, training and fruit trees for local communities as part of its mission to create and restore more than 100 community orchards across Britain by 2017.

The orchards are a response to interest from people wanting to grow their own fresh fruit, utilising the outdoor space on their doorsteps and taking part in community activities.

The Dartmouth Park community orchard has been planted with a variety of apple trees with different pollination and ripening times, as well as almond trees picked for their stunning blossom, sweet cherries, pears and damsons.

Beatrice Myers, a Friend of Dartmouth Park, said: “It was such a great event supported by the whole community.

“I would like to thank everyone who volunteered from the Parks Department, who went above and beyond, to the town’s banks such Lloyds, the Halifax and Santander, Morley’s WI, Morley in Bloom, schools and Little Bunnies childminding.

“It was a brilliant day.

“Activities will be centred around the orchard, such as wassailing, pruning and apple days and I hope it will to appeal to everyone, encouraging them to use the park more.”

Anyone who is interested in getting involved with the Morley orchard, should contact Alan Thornton on 07730 216943.

Coun Judith Elliott said: “The idea of a community orchard is wonderful and I’m delighted we can get involved. Whatever we can do to have more fruit trees in the community and parks the better. Numerous people have come on board to help with the project which is bringing the community together and adding to the rich tapestry of Morley community events.”

Coun Neil Dawson said: “The Friends of Dartmouth Park are always looking at ways to encourage people to visit the park so the community orchard is a really good initiative as it appeals to people of all ages.

“ It provides a purpose for people to get involved and will be great for children helping them to appreciate where their food comes from.”