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New orchard to be planted at old allotment

Published on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

AN overgrown former allotment is set to bloom into life by being transformed in to a new community orchard. 

The site off Evesham Road in Rowley Fields is part of the Aylestone Meadows Local Nature Reserve, but the disused former allotments have become overgrown with brambles and weeds.

Now, local volunteers, members of the Aylestone Meadows Appreciation Society and nature conservation officers from Leicester City Council are joining forces to plant 12 new fruit trees there.

The planting work is due to take place on Friday, March 10, from 10.30am. Trees will include varieties of five apple trees, three pear trees, three plum trees and a medlar tree.

The plants have been provided by Western Power Distribution, as compensation for a number of nearby trees removed due to essential maintenance work.

The work is part of the Wild About Leicester project, which aims to involve members of the community in practical conservation on some of Leicester’s most sensitive sites, such as nature reserves and wildlife sites.

Longer-term aims for the allotment site include creating a wildflower meadow, further conservation and clearance works, and guided wildlife walks.

Ultimately, the goal is to encourage people to get involved with caring for the young orchard and helping bring the area back into regular use.

Leicester City Council nature conservation officer Richard Kelly said: “This area used to be allotments but over time have become overgrown and messy.

“This new community orchard, along with the planned wildflower meadow, will bring the area back into use, benefit local biodiversity and wildlife, and hopefully encourage people to get involved in caring for the area.

“Across the UK orchards are being lost at an alarming rate, so this one will be a welcome addition and will also help compliment this area of the meadows, reflecting their former use as producing fresh crops.

“We hope people will be encouraged to learn more about biodiversity and nature while learning some practical skills involved in caring for a site like this.”

Leicester assistant city mayor for energy and sustainability, Cllr Adam Clarke, added: “The whole of Aylestone Meadows Local Nature Reserve is a much-loved oasis in the city, and this scheme to create an orchard and wildflower meadow will be a delightful addition to it.”