THANKS to the efforts of the Redditch community, a new orchard has been planted in Riverside near the site of a long-forgotten orchard of the past.

With funding from The Cooperative Group's Community Dividend fund, groups Transition Redditch and Abbeyside Friends worked with volunteers from Where Next, pupils from St Stephen’s First School, other Redditch residents and Redditch Council Officers to prepare for and plant the new orchard near the Bordesley Abbey and Forge Mill.

Despite the rain, more than 30 people attended an event on March 2 to plant more 20 trees including apples, pears, plums, cherries, damsons and greengages.

Many of the trees are distinct local varieties from Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Gloucestershire such as the Wyken Pippin and Catshead apples, Warwickshire Drooper plums, and Pitmaston Duchess pears. Wild teasel was also planted, donated by a local resident from their garden.

Jo-Ann Gloger, keeper of collections at Forge Mill said: “We’ve found evidence from 1645 of an old ‘Abbey Orchard’. It is great that trees are once again being planted in this area to provide local fresh fruit as well as the opportunity to keep alive traditional skills and knowledge.”

Martin Lewis, parks and green space development officer for Redditch Council, added: “It’s a lovely peaceful spot for people and wildlife and this project aims to benefit both."