Community orchard launched in Stonehouse with the planting of ten fruit trees
THE first fruit trees have been planted in a new orchard in the heart of Stonehouse.
A corner of the Laburnum playing fields was prepared for the planting of apple and pear trees on Friday and the first ten saplings were put in.
Martin Woolford, managing partner of Location Estate Agents in Stonehouse, donated nine £15 fruit trees while Stonehouse WI donated another tree.
Mr Woolford said: "It is great to be able to put something back into the community which everybody can share in and help grow for many years to come.
"We want the community to help themselves to the fruit and hopefully be encouraged to take an active role in helping to look after the orchard."
The saplings were grown at Lodge Farm Trees in Rockhampton near Thornbury and are all local varieties.
"The first tree we are planting is called Arlingham School Boys while some of the others are named Gilliflower of Gloucestershire, Martin's Kernal and Tewkesbury Baron," said Mr Woolford, who has lived in Chalford for 20 years.
Stonehouse Town Council provided the money to cover the cost of the planting equipment and materials while members of the Conservation Volunteers donated their time to plant the trees.
Town councillor Theresa Watt, who is also a member of the Conservation Volunteers, said: "Eighteenth century maps of the area show that Stonehouse used to have an orchard and it is great to bring some of that history back to the town."
There are plans to extend the orchard and plant an elm tree in memory of former town councillor Sue Latchford who died in July last year.