New community orchard to promote healthier lifestyles

Youngsters from Asquith Primary School planting the new community orchard at Jacksons Field in Mansfield.
Youngsters from Asquith Primary School planting the new community orchard at Jacksons Field in Mansfield.

A greener environment and a healthier lifstyle were the messages behind a new community orchard that was planted by schoolchildren in Mansfield.

Pupils from Asquith Primary School braved the icy wind and rain to create the orchard at Jackson’s Field in the town.

They planted 72 trees and 200 shrubs, with the help of Mansfield District Council staff, local councillor Andy Sissons and members of the Greenwood Forest community team.

It is hoped that the trees will yield healthy food, such as apples, of both cooking and eating varieties, pears, plums, cherries, hazelnuts and mulberries. Planted alongside them were edible hedgerow shrubs, including hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel and elder.

The project has been funded from contributions made by building firms behind new residential developments nearby. And the aim is to persuade residents living in the area to eat more healthily and take more of an interest in the environment.

“People will be able to come and pick all the wonderful organic fruit the trees produce,” said Sean Davies, the council’s arboreal officer, who has helped co-ordinate the project. “We also hope it will encourage wildlife, insects and birds.”

Coun Andrew Tristram, the council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said: “It is great that local youngsters have been involved. They will be able to watch these trees grow and take pride that they have helped to create what will be a beautiful green space in their neighbourhood.”

Coun Sissons added: “This is a great scheme. The orchard will enhance the area and bring people together. The aim is to have benches where people can enjoy picnics.”

This is the ninth community orchard that has been planted in the Mansfield district over the past five years, adding up to a total of 665 fruit trees.