As part of its ‘Growing Orchard Communities’ project South Devon AONB has secured funding from the Langage Landscape Fund (LLF), provided by Centrica, the owner and operator of the Langage Energy Centre. At the time of planning to build the energy centre the company, in partnership with South Hams District Council, created the fund to support community and landscape projects. The funding is being used to improve local orchards through practical landscape enhancements, planting schemes to improve biodiversity and creating ways for the local community to get involved in looking after their community orchard.
The project involves five Orchards within a five km radius of the Langage Energy Station, Modbury, Sparkwell, Wembury, Hemerdon and Holbeton. who will be planting fruit trees as cordons. This is a method which is greatly suited to smaller orchard sites, especially community orchards where the site is used by many different people wanting to enjoy these special places. The trees are trained along wires and fences to ensure that a maximum fruit yield is gained from a small space.. A total of 135 trees will be planted and should start bearing fruit for the communities in the next couple of years.
To help the volunteers get the most from their trees the AONB Unit organised a training workshop in Hemerdon community orchard on care and panting of cordons. 18 volunteers spent a Saturday morning planting the trees and learning to care for them with local orchard expert Charles Staniland guiding them through the process. The workshop finished with a lovely lunch in the village hall provide by villagers from Hemerdon and gratefully received by all the cold and hungry volunteers!
Nicky Bailey, South Devon AONB community projects officer said “this was a fantastic event which was so useful to the volunteers who have cordon fruit trees to now go and plant in their own community orchard. We must say a special thank you to Kathy George from Hemerdon community orchard and her band of volunteers for putting on such a marvellous lunch, and the mulled wine or apple juiced was especially welcome after a cold and crispy mornings work!
Kathy George of Hemerdon community orchard commented “We absolutely couldn't have managed without all the volunteers. The village tractor was also put into service, there's no way we could have wheelbarrowed 45 loads of bark around the field! We feel incredibly fortunate to have had all those people helping, it was a lot more work than anticipated and I think the mulled wine was much appreciated!”
Participant Penny Callcut from Holbeton community orchard “ it was very well organised, the Hemerdon group made a fantastic effort to get everything ready!”
Lee Read, Centrica’s Langage Generation Manager, said “Everyone at the Langage Energy Centre plays an important role in providing power to homes in the area. But we also live locally and want to see our local area flourish. The Langage Landscape Fund was designed to encourage greenspace improvement projects like landscaping and planting. It’s fantastic to see these projects happening and they make the whole team feel proud to be part of the community.”