A new community orchard in the heart of Loughton was opened thanks to months of hard work by Epping Forest Countrycare and their volunteers.
A special plaque for the Willingale Road Community Orchard was unveiled on 29 October by Loughton Town Council Mayor Judy Jennings, assisted by Epping Forest District Council’s Chairman Liz Webster.
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Willingale Road Community Orchard
Volunteers planted a variety of trees including apple, plum and greengage, as well as gooseberry, raspberry and blackcurrant bushes after clearing the overgrown and neglected plot of land in Willingale Road.
The site, owned by Loughton Town Council, was originally covered in brambles and full of litter and fly-tipped cement. An ecological survey showed it to be a site worthy of protection with common lizards, slow-worms and grass snakes amongst its inhabitants.
Grown by local residents, for local residents
Mayor Judy Jennings said: “I am very proud to be opening a new community orchard in Loughton. All the fruit will be grown by local residents, for local residents.”
“I am very grateful to Epping Forest Countrycare, who have provided expert advice and practical assistance on improving the site, planning maintenance regimes, nature conservation, and wildlife law.”
“Once the site is more accessible we will work with local schools to arrange bug hunts and tree identification events.”
Volunteer with Epping Forest Countrycare
EFDC Chairman LIz Webster said: “Our Epping Forest Countrycare volunteers have worked extremely hard to clear this site. They have created a new local nature reserve and community orchard in the middle of Loughton.”
“All the volunteers should be very proud of themselves. This wonderful project has been nominated in the Greenest Community Project category in this years Green Essex Awards Scheme. I would urge anyone with a bit of spare time and loves the outdoors to volunteer with Epping Forest Countrycare.”