Pellon community orchard project begins to bear fruit

Community orchard Ashfield Gardens, Pellon.
Community orchard Ashfield Gardens, Pellon.

A COMMUNITY orchard project is beginning to bear fruit with the delivery of 80 trees.

The heritage apple, pear, plum and cherry trees will soon be planted at six sites in Pellon, Halifax, for residents to pick from.

The plots were handed over to Halifax in Bloom by Calderdale Council and Pennine Housing after a campaign by group chairman Keith Hutson (Lib Dem, Warley).

Coun Hutson, a horticulturist, said: “Community orchards are popular these days and the nice thing is that after years and years of orchards being ripped up throughout the UK, there are more being planted now than there have been for about the last 30 years.

“When communities come together it creates real bonds of fellowship. It is amazing how it gets people talking together and it certainly breaks down barriers and particularly in areas like Pellon, where there hasn’t been any real planting initiatives like this for a long time. “It does give communities pride and a sense of ownership of their area.”

It is hoped that as well as providing free fruit to residents, the orchards will be used by schools for story-telling sessions.

They will also provide training opportunities for people interested in working in horticulture.

The project has been funded by organisations such as the Rotary Club, Community Foundation for Calderdale and the Warley Trust.

Coun Hutson hopes the project can eventually be rolled out across Calderdale.

“This is the pilot really and we want to keep applying for funding,” he said. “I’d like to thank all the donors, the council and Pennine because they have all been brilliant.

“Without them, it couldn’t have happened.”

The first planting day is being held on Sunday March 4, in Ashville Gardens, Pellon, from 10am. Anyone who wishes to volunteer is welcome to attend.