This morning there was some significant progress on the Oulton Mill Picnic Site in Eaton. The first two trees were planted to start the Community Orchard corner.
You may recall that, a few years ago, I persuaded Cheshire West and Chester Council that it would be in everyone’s best interests if they sold the redundant and neglected picnic site to the Parish Council for a pound plus legal costs? well, since then the parish council, with the help of local volunteers have been raising money and working on the site, replanting a hedge, cutting grass, managing damaged trees and inviting local residents to enjoy the picnic benches.
Two years ago I commissioned (using my own money btw) Brogdale Trust, the keepers of the national fruit collection to grow me a couple of the traditional apple trees of Cheshire. Today we planted those trees and soon there will be more for people to enjoy.
The trees are a variety called Arthur W Barnes who I believe, bred this variety at Eaton Hall for the Duke of Westminster. It is a red skinned cooking apple and can also be juiced.
The really lovely thing is the way so many people have volunteered to help on the site bringing expertise, enthusiasm or equipment that have made this a real community development. Two local farmers have cut the grass and the hedges. soon a wildflower area will be planted with other people contributing. Local schoolchildren have been consulted and helped choose fruit trees and will, with help, be putting up bird boxes, making a bug hotel and counting butterflies. It will be fascinating to see it develop in future years