30 November 2021 – In early 2021 Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Total Environment Team were contacted by Utkinton and Cotebrook Parish Council to look at a few projects in the village. One of these was to create a small orchard on a piece of land in the village where there were already a couple of apple trees.
Orchard provides central hub for community
Following a visit by the team to assess the site, it was agreed that a small orchard with a variety of fruit trees would be suitable for the location.
Using a variety of funding, including some sourced through the Trees For Climate programme, 14 fruit trees, including damson, plum, pear and a number of Cheshire apple varieties, were provided for the half hectare site.
The Parish Council organised for a group of volunteers to plant the trees in late February and one of Cheshire West and Chester Council’s rangers attended the session to provide the tools and training to explain how to plant and fit the guards provided.
The trees were sourced from a local nursery and were already flowering by May.
Councillor Jason Hughes from Uktinton and Cotebrook Parish Council, said “The creation of the new Cotebrook Community Orchard will undoubtedly lead to a new central hub for all to enjoy, this new focal point in our parish will be utilised to its fullest potential with which I will happily keep you informed of future developments.”
Public access and management:
Providing an orchard on an area of land that was previously unused will help the community to have access to more greenspace and provide a central hub to be enjoyed. The site will be managed by the Parish Council with support from local volunteers.
Local varieties of fruit trees were chosen for the site, helping to increase biodiversity and attract wildlife.
Contribution to Net Zero:
The trees planted will contribute to the borough’s target of becoming net zero by 2045.
Engagement, health and wellbeing:
16 people were engaged with during the planting process with a group of volunteers helping to plant the trees. The site provides opportunities for residents to learn more about healthy eating and the benefits of growing your own.