Annual Oswestry market day packs a crunch for customers

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so an orchard has produced some that pack a real crunch.

Valentine Davis, Smita Kulkarni and Kathy Watkins at Oswestry Market's Apple Day
Valentine Davis, Smita Kulkarni and Kathy Watkins at Oswestry Market's Apple Day

Cambrian Railway Orchard Project (Crop) held its market day at the Bailey Head in Oswestry at the weekend, where they sold the fruits of their labour to peckish customers who fancied a juicy treat.

Apple experts provided pressing demonstrations and gave advice. It has been an annual event at the market for the last seven years, and is all down to the hard work of Crop volunteers.

The one-acre orchard is located between the railway line and Gobowen Road B5069, an arterial route passing Oswestry’s Iron Age Hill Fort, and work begin in 2011 on building foundations, planting trees and wildlife habitat building.

In 2013, the site entrance was redeveloped as well as 50 more apple trees and 15 cherry trees planted, bringing the number of established fruit trees up to 140.

A hive of British honey bees was established in Autumn 2013 by local beekeeper Richard Lewis, from which the first honey was extracted in September 2014. Another hive was added in 2015 by Pam Scott who has been taught by Richard.

Later, further tree planting to the south of the entrance area with a view to seasoning, coppicing and charcoal production was done.

The project has received recognition from the Oswestry and District Civic Society, who gave Crop the 2012 Mary Hignett Environment Award, and the Shropshire Wildlife Trust (Oswestry Branch). ‘Oswestry in Bloom’ gave Crop the Outstanding Work by Young Persons award in 2013, plus Best Community Project in both 2014 and 2015, and a gold standard award in 2016. In 2015 the project also received the Chairman’s Award for the Heart of England Britain in Bloom/RHS Scheme and were nominated as an Environmental Champion in the Shropshire Star Pride in Shropshire awards.

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