Council offers trees for Shropshire communities to grow their own orchards
Community groups across Shropshire are being offered the chance to grow their own King’s Orchards for free after the county council was granted more than £12,000 from the Coronation Living Heritage Fund.
Shropshire Council says it has 200 fruit trees, including apple, pear, plum and damson trees, to be given away in mixed groups of at least five trees.
The authority said any town or parish council, housing association, residents group or school will be able to apply to create their own community orchard.
Ian Nellins, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for climate change, environment and transport, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for communities to grow their own orchards and help improve Shropshire’s bio-diversity. Sadly, since the 1950s, 90 per cent of our traditional orchards have been lost, yet traditional orchards are fantastic for wildlife as they’re made up of different habitats, including woodland, hedgerow and meadow grassland.
“Planting community orchards will make the most of valuable underused green spaces for the benefit of local communities, as well as providing training and learning opportunities for local people, producing fruit for local people to enjoy, cutting food miles and helping with the cost of living.
"The orchards can be the focus of traditional events. Events such as harvest festivals, wassailing and work parties will help bring local people closer together and build community cohesion, and school orchards will help children learn about where their food comes from, how to grow and maintain the trees, as well as how to enjoy the harvest by tucking into some healthy fruit." Councillor Nellins added: "Shropshire Council has the intention to plant 345,000 trees by 2030 to achieve our goal of being carbon net zero by the same year. Planting more fruit trees will ‘lock up’ carbon, contributing to that ambition. I can see some great opportunities for groups to develop their community orchards and to reap the whole range of rewards for their efforts.”
The trees are available free of charge and must be planted in groups of at least five to make an orchard.
For more information visit shropshire.gov.uk/environment/trees-woodlands-and-hedges/coronation-living-heritage-fund-clhf-community-orchards-scheme-in-shropshire/ or to make an application, contact Nick Rowles by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org