Ongar Community Orchard
Grid Reference: TL 55120 04223
Owners: Epping Forest District Council
Access: Open access via kissing gate to the side garages off St Peter’s Avenue.
Description: Ongar Orchard is located in the west of Shelley, just off St Peter’s Avenue. Before 2014 this disused allotment site was cut frequently by Epping Forest District Council’s Ground Maintenance Team, but had no real purpose. Local Conservationist, Alan Brett, together with a group of interested locals, took a proposal to the Council to turn it into a community orchard. Funding was obtained from from Rural Community Council of Essex (funded by the Big Lottery’s Local Food Scheme and supported by Essex County Council) as well as Ongar Town Council.
In January 2014, Friends of Ongar Community Orchard, with help from Epping Forest Countrycare, planted 25 fruit trees, and later in the spring took a group from Shelley Primary School to plant wildflower plugs. The area is now managed to promote these wildflowers.
The orchard now contains apples, plums, pears, greengages and cherry trees which were planted in January and the committee is just waiting for them to bear fruit. It is hoped that the orchard will be a useful resource for local schools and youth organisations, with a theme of healthy eating, and sourcing food locally.
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