Residents across Chickerell gathered to plant a new community orchard to help promote the benefits of wildlife.

Some 15 apple, pear, plum and cherry trees were planted at the bottom of Meadow Close thanks to a partnership between Chickerell Town Council, the non-profit social enterprise Little Green Change, and the Tree Council's Network Rail Community Tree Planting Fund.

The area will be maintained by Chickerell Town Council and is expected to start producing fruit within the next two to three years.

Local residents, including children, were invited to attend, and despite the wet weather, Little Green Change’s Founder and Director Clare Matheson said the turnout was “brilliant.”

“There was such a positive community atmosphere. I’m looking forward to returning as the years pass to see the orchard flourish.”

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 pollinators including bees.

Nicola Briar, Chickerell Town Council’s Town Clerk, added: “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 crocuses.”

Little Green Change will also be partnering with the council to run a free seed sowing activity for children during the Easter school holiday on Friday, April 5, 1pm-3pm, at Willowbed Hall.