Launch event arranged for new community orchard in Alnwick

A new community orchard is set to bring a breath of fresh air to Alnwick.

By Ian Smith
Friday, 6th August 2021, 11:07 am

Moorlands Community Orchard is being created in a field at the back of Chapel Lands.

An open day is being held on Sunday, August 22 from 2.30pm with a picnic, the start of clearance work on site by volunteers and the launch of a Friends of the Orchard membership scheme.

The story started at the annual Chapel Lands community picnic. It was followed in September 2019 by a packed meeting in the Shepherd’s Rest pub.

An aerial view of the new community orchard site at Chapel Lands. Picture: Kevin Temple

Local people were enthusiastic about the idea, welcoming the idea of accessible green space and the benefits it would bring for wildlife.

Plans for the orchard are ambitious.

Children will be particularly well catered for with alternative play areas – no slides or swings but log piles for climbing and willow dens and raised beds, designed for children to plant their own produce.

A herb garden, a mixture of apple, pear and cherry trees, and wildlife areas are planned, with speciality housing for hedgehogs, bats and birds. And a plus for them is that no pesticides or fungicides will be used at the orchard.

A willow den.

The orchard steering committee is liaising with the Bullfield orchard in the south of town and its experience suggests that it is community involvement which is vital, a lesson these new horticulturists are keen to learn.

There are still bureaucratic hurdles to overcome. Northumberland County Council and Alnwick Town Council have given outline permission for the project and the paperwork is completed.

Help and encouragement is being given by Cllr Martin Swinbank, representing the Greens on Northumberland County Council.

Fund-raising towards the purchase of trees and tools will start at the open day.

A hedgehog hut.

"We welcome donations of usable tools. And money for trees, which we will be planting in autumn,” said chairwoman, Angela Ramsay.

“The dream of bringing the community together and helping the planet looks set to succeed. Planting trees at the moment is spot on.”

If you would like more information or would like to help in any way please contact:- [email protected] Tel: 07957 899223 or [email protected] Tel: 07791 347677.

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