Vandals target town orchard

Martin, Jessica and Robert Swinbank, who helped to plant and look after the trees.
Martin, Jessica and Robert Swinbank, who helped to plant and look after the trees.

Vandals have attacked trees in an Alnwick orchard, which was planted by a group of adults and children for the benefit of the community.

Volunteers planted 50 fruit and nut trees and some soft fruit bushes at the Bullfield Community Orchard to make it a resource for everyone in the area.

But a number of trees have been chopped down and rabbit guards and stakes have been damaged.

Paul Mills, a member of the orchard’s steering group, described the vandalism as disappointing.

“As a community resource, it’s always a bit hard to hear of damage being done by the community.

“But we remain pretty positive that it’s a good idea and it’s generally been well received.

“A lot of people in the community helped to plant it and it was great that they were involved.

“One of the reasons we got the community involved in the first place was to deter vandalism and obviously it’s worked to an extent because it’s been nearly three years.”

The Bullfield is set to develop into an attractive community resource as the trees mature over the coming years.

The aim of the orchard is to promote the production and distribution of locally-grown fruit and nuts for local people.

It also serves as a recreational space, which is accessible to the whole community.

The Bullfield is held by the Friends of the Bullfield Community Orchard on a 99-year lease from Northumberland County Council.

The group is holding its annual general meeting followed by a celebration of the orchard at Alnwick Cricket Club next Saturday (March 9) at 7.30pm.

All members of the community are welcome to attend the short meeting, which will be followed by food and drink and the chance to learn about the orchard project so far.

The Friends have plans for future work in the Bullfield and would love to meet those interested in becoming involved or wanting to find out what has been happening over the past year.

The orchard can be found adjacent to Glovers Green, behind Arkle Court and with Weavers Way at the far end.