Warwickshire community groups can sign up to orchard planting project - The Leamington Observer

Warwickshire community groups can sign up to orchard planting project

GREEN-fingered community groups across Warwickshire are being offered funding to create their own orchards and micro woods.

The initiative, funded by Defra’s Coronation Heritage Living Fund, allows residents to plant a lasting tribute within their local communities while contributing to a more sustainable Warwickshire.

The Fruitful Pursuits Community Orchards project aims to reverse the decline of traditional orchards by empowering communities to plant a variety of fruit trees in underused green spaces.

These community orchards offer a variety of benefits beyond providing access to fresh fruit. They support wildlife and promote natural land management. They also provide a place for residents to connect, plant trees, and enjoy community activities and a unique learning environment for schools and communities to explore wildlife, planting, and tree maintenance.

The project also encourages the creation of Community Micro Woods. Inspired by Japanese botanist Dr Akira Miyawaki’s planting method, these miniature woodlands utilize mixed native species planted at high density to create a natural growth pattern in urban areas.

Micro Woods increase tree canopy cover, contributing to a much-needed increase in Warwickshire’s overall tree cover. Unlike many other planting methods, these woods require minimal maintenance after the initial establishment period and have far lower vulnerability to vandalism compared to traditional tree planting.

Warwickshire County Council’s environment spokesperson Coun Heather Timms said: “These projects will not only provide beautiful spaces for residents to enjoy but also contribute to a more sustainable county by increasing biodiversity and improving air quality. It aligns perfectly with our commitment to creating a Warwickshire that is not only beautiful but also sustainable, both now and for future generations.”

Applications for Community Orchards close at the end of July, with planting to be completed by March 2025.

Anyone interested in creating a micro wood should contact WCC’s Natural Capital team at [email protected]

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