CHICKERELL residents are being urged to come together to help plant a new community orchard.

Local residents of the area, including children, are being encouraged to attend from 10am on Saturday, March 9, to help plant 15 apple, pear, plum and cherry trees.

A new community orchard is being planted thanks to a partnership between Chickerell Town Council, the non-profit social enterprise Little Green Change, and funding from the Tree Council's Network Rail Community Tree Planting Fund.

People who wish to join in are encouraged to bring gardening gloves and meet outside Chickerell Town Council's office on Putton Lane, DT3 4AJ.

The planting event is expected to finish by 12pm and will proceed unless there is heavy rain and wind.

Not only will the trees produce free fruit for residents in the future, but they will also provide a new habitat for a range of beneficial insects and birds, and a source of nectar for important pollinators including bees.

It is hoped that new, community orchards like this will increase awareness of the benefits to residents of growing food locally, as well as their benefits to wildlife.

Little Green Change's Founder and Director, Clare Matheson said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Chickerell Town Council on this brilliant project.

"Their enthusiasm for nature and improving the environment for local residents led to the planting of 5,000 bulbs at the Chickerell Community Crocus Challenge event last autumn, which we were involved with, so it's great to be working with them again on another environmental project in the community.”

Chickerell Town Council’s Town Clerk, Nicola Briar said: “During our recent residents’ survey, improving wildlife habitat and tree planting stood out as very important to our community so we are thrilled to be planting the community orchard and hope that residents will get involved in this important project.

"We are excited to be working with Little Green Change again as the Town Council’s Crocus Challenge was so popular last year and the results can now be seen at Claypits with a wonderful display of crocus.”