Moormead Orchard, East Devon
Moormead Orchard, East Devon

Community orchards, open for all to enjoy, are set to flourish after residents turned out in the sun, rain, and freezing cold to take part in special fruit tree and care training sessions.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) hosted the events in February at orchards in Axminster (St. George’s Avenue), Exmouth (Bidmead Close), Budleigh Salterton (Moormead), and Broadclyst (Wiltshier Close).

Victoria Robinson and her housing’s community development team have planted community orchards with residents for several years, with the older trees located in Axminster and Budleigh Salterton, and the younger trees planted in Broadclyst two years ago.

The training sessions were held with the help of EDDC’s StreetScene parks and gardens team, which supplied the wood chippings to mulch around the fruit trees at the end of each session. The children at the training sessions also got to enjoy hot chocolate from a flask.

Paul Fealey, StreetScene’s horticultural technical officer, led the sessions and said:

“This was a big team effort across several EDDC departments to engage and educate residents on all aspects of caring for the fruit trees in the community orchards beside their homes. The sessions were well attended and were a great success.

“Residents provided feedback about how much they had learned from the sessions and how they were going to go home and try out their new knowledge and skills on their own plants.

“It was a delight to work with residents who were so keen to learn new skills and to see their levels of confidence grow as they worked their way around pruning the fruit trees one step at a time, and seeing the differences they made to the trees after removing stems that were dead, damaged, diseased, or deformed/crossing, to end up with healthier trees that will bear much more fruit.

“The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and we can’t wait for this autumn’s harvest. We will keep you informed."