Hoping to enjoy fruits of the labours

By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 21 February 2014 Updated: 21/02 09:49

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Buy photos » Kath Manning from Climate Change Redditch, Martin Lewis from Redditch Borough Council, Bob Parker - chairman of Abbeyside Friends - and Alistair Waugh. Picture by Marcus Mingins 0814020MMR.

AN ORCHARD in an historic area of Redditch will be brought back to life four centuries on.

A community orchard planting day is set to take place at Forge Mill Needle Museum on Sunday, March 2, from 10.30am.

It follows the discovery there was an Abbey Orchard near the Gatehouse Chapel of St Stephen at Bordesley Abbey in the 17th century.

Keeper of collections Jo-Ann Gloger said: “We’ve found a mention of the Abbey Orchard dating back to 1645 so it seems fitting for the abbey site to bear fruit for another generation. It’s also an extra dimension to the rich historical interpretation that we aim to achieve at the museum.”

Using funding from The Co-operative Society’s community fund, Transition Town Redditch will be working with Abbeyside Friends, other community groups, schools and Redditch Borough Council to establish the site.

The orchard, which will be shown to judges as part of this year’s Heart of England in Bloom competition, will feature varieties of apple, pear, plum and damson trees with many originating from Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire.

Alistair Waugh from Transition Town Redditch said: “There’s frequent uncertainty about the cost of food and how it is produced. Fruit for example, can often be a costly part of our shopping and more often than not has travelled huge distances to get to us.

“Yet fresh fruit is so important and it’s not that long since we celebrated the fruit heritage of our neighbours in the Vale of Evesham.

“Transition Town Redditch is interested in the ways our town can move towards a future where we produce food locally, supporting each other and sharing skills and ideas.”

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