Children help plant a new Community Orchard at Stowford

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 March 2020

Freddie is proud of his clay ball while Luna digs into the roots of a Bullace bush Picture: Ed Dolphin

Freddie is proud of his clay ball while Luna digs into the roots of a Bullace bush Picture: Ed Dolphin

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Sidmouth children have been busy helping to plant a community orchard in Sidmouth.

Volunteers Ash Taylor and Graham Hutchinson Picture: Ed DolphinVolunteers Ash Taylor and Graham Hutchinson Picture: Ed Dolphin

Year one youngsters from Sidmouth Primary School braved the weather last Friday to help plant the new community orchard beside Stowford Community Centre.

Volunteers from Sidmouth Arboretum worked with the children, staff and parents from the school to plant more than 20 young fruit trees including several west country varieties of apple.

The weather wasn't perfect, but the children walked up from Manstone and took part in two hours of activities.

Groups took it in turns to help the adults plant the trees.

Andy Chapman, chief executive at The Exeter, and Jon Ball, Chairman of Sidmouth Arboretum Picture: Ed DolphinAndy Chapman, chief executive at The Exeter, and Jon Ball, Chairman of Sidmouth Arboretum Picture: Ed Dolphin

As well as helping with the planting, there was storytelling with local author Jo Earlam, and an interactive game with the children deciding where best to plant various trees on a large model landscape provided by Natural Habitat Design.

The new orchard is part of Sidmouth Arboretum's collaboration with Sidmouth Town Council to plant trees at 27 sites around the town over three years.

The three sites planted this year are opposite The Bowd, across the road from the Health Centre in Stowford Rise, and the new orchard, and the planting has been made possible by very generous sponsorship from local insurance company The Exeter.

Company staff have been released to help with previous planting and three representatives were present on Friday.

Children help plant a new Community Orchard at Stowford Picture: Ed DolphinChildren help plant a new Community Orchard at Stowford Picture: Ed Dolphin

Andy Chapman, chief executive at The Exeter, said: "Supporting local causes is an important part of what we do at The Exeter and something all our staff are very passionate about.

"It's such a pleasure to work together with Sidmouth Arboretum and Sidmouth Town Council to make a difference in the community."

Arboretum chairman Jon Ball said: "It was a delight working with the children who showed so much enthusiasm.

"As well as The Exeter, we would like to offer a special thank you to Ash Taylor from Gardeners of Eden who donated half a day of his very helpful time."

Firming in the tree before the protective mulch goes on Picture: Ed DolphinFirming in the tree before the protective mulch goes on Picture: Ed Dolphin

The Stowford orchard joins Sidmouth's other community orchard managed by Friends of The Byes. The Arboretum will wrap up this planting season next week with a planting session at St John's and their fossil species garden in Connaught Gardens.


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