Hangstones Community Orchard

Parish council's community fruit orchard plan started but volunteers ‘essential’

The first phase of our tree planting Project has been completed. 9 Fruit trees to initiate the Community Orchard at Hangstones Yatton

Yeo Valley Lions and Yatton & Congresbury Wildlife Action Group (YACWAG) have planted trees on an underused piece of ground at Hangstones, thanks to the agreement of the parish council. Volunteers will look after the trees which will be great for wildlife, respond to the climate emergency and eventually provide fruit for local residents. If you know of any land that could be planted with trees, please let the Lions or YACWAG know as we hope this is just the beginning.

Yatton Parish Council on Monday backed progressing the scheme, subject to public consultation.Trees would be planted at Hangstones, near the path to the skatepark, off Stowey Road. Yeo Valley Lions has agreed to pay for the trees, while Yatton and Congresbury Wildlife Action Group has been involved in the planning. The plan, subject to the consultation, is for nine trees to be planted, made up of cherry, damson, gage, apple, pear and plum varieties.
Clir Robert Jenner said it was ‘essential’ community volunteers are found to support the venture, if it is to be a success. He said people will be needed to water the trees, especially in the first summer after planting. Clir Wendy Griggs added: “I think it’s important enough volunteers are found to look after it (the orchard). “We have areas where things have been set up but we (the parish council) have then had to take over. I think it’s important we look at sustainability over a long time period.” Clr Jenner conceded if the orchard was planted but not looked after properly by volunteers, then the parish council may be forced to step in.
An Indicative plan of where the trees will be planted has been produced. ‘The nine trees would be planted several metres away from the footpath to prevent fruit falling amid the parish council's concern it may cause ‘health and safety” Issues. Each tree would be about 1.6m when planted and would reach a maximum height of about 5m, Clr Jenner said.
A member of the public did ask the parish council to consider planting flowering trees because the fallen fruit rotting in his opinion could attract rats to the area and lead to the spread of illness. However, the parish council felt the chances of that happening were remote. Although it did decide it will contact Congresbury Parish Council to see if there had been any similar issues with Its Village orchard. CUr Jenner said: “The more people who pick the fruit, the less that will fall on to the ground.”The parish council voted to back the proposal, if the public support it, in consultation, in future.

article reprinted from North Somerset Times


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