Councillor Iain Chubb (centre) with members of East Devon District Council Community Development and Countryside staff at last week's tree planting.

Families plant apple trees in public open space near their homes

It was smiles all round on last week as residents turned out in force to support an apple tree planting event arranged by East Devon District Council.

The orchard idea is aimed at creating a more interesting and stimulating environment on a patch of land behind the community centre at Bidmead, Littleham, with local people feeling they have an involvement in the plot.

Tools, gloves and refreshments were provided and there was a real family atmosphere as mums, dads and children from tots to teenagers came along to dig holes and plant the saplings in an area of spare grassland near the footpath and cycle track.

Several of them agreed to become guardians of the trees to ensure that orchard thrives into the future.

Vision

Organised by East Devon’s Countryside and Community Development Teams, this is part of a wider vision to plant more traditional orchards across the district. In recent years the Countryside team has restored or planted five orchards on local nature reserves.

Councillor Iain Chubb, East Devon District Council’s cabinet member for environment, attended on the day and helped plant a tree with Exmouth councillor Pauline Stott.

Iain Chubb said:

This is a great way to get our local communities involved in creating new orchards, which have been in severe decline in the south west for a number of decades now. To be able to creatively reuse some of our neglected or underused open spaces for both wildlife and local people shows the council’s commitment to its outstanding natural environment. This is the first of many similar projects that our Countryside, StreetScene and Community Development Teams are working on across the whole of the district. Watch this space for more news on this exciting scheme.

For more information email countryside@eastdevon.gov.uk or call 01395 517557