Mayor of Axminster cutting the ribbon

Rooting for success - East Devon Apple orchard will provide vital new habitat for bees

Local Millwey residents, ranging from two to 80 years of age, have been busy bees helping East Devon District Council’s SWITCH and Countryside teams, as well as local councillors, plant ten apple trees in a new community orchard near St George’s Avenue in Axminster, East Devon.

Around 30 enthusiastic volunteers, including SWITCH families, helped dig holes and plant trees. East Devon mobile support officer Lucinda Cliff brought supported residents to take part and several residents offered to join a management committee to plan more events to take place at the orchard.

When all the trees were safely installed, Councillor Paul Hayward, the mayor of Axminster, cut a ribbon to declare the orchard planted and everyone enjoyed a celebratory drink of mulled apple juice, apple cake and toffee apples made by Lucinda.

Community development worker Victoria Robinson expressed her thanks to the community for supporting the project and to her SWITCH and Countryside colleagues for making the event such a resounding success.

Councillor Ian Hall, East Devon District Council ward member for Axminster, who enjoyed rolling up his sleeves to dig holes, said:

What can I say! A great event, which will enable the community spirit to literally grow stronger through the roots that have been put down here.

While digging one of the holes we found evidence of the original old World War Two American army camp hospital site, which Millwey Rise itself was built on. The remaining rubble offered good drainage properties for the trees we were planting.

East Devon District Council’s Countryside Team Leader Tim Dafforn said:

This third orchard will bring blossom and fruit to the heart of this community and will provide a vital new habitat for pollinators such as bees.