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Fruits of labour can be seen in growing community orchard near Grantham




The fruits of a village’s labour has seen a community orchard grow as well as other improvements during the pandemic.

Lockdown has been a difficult time for everyone, but it has given Ancaster Parish Council the chance to make some impressive changes for parishioners.

The community orchard behind the cemetery was an idea put forward by Parish Councillor Andrew Newton who has worked tirelessly on the project. So far, 23 trees have been planted including plum, damson, pear, cherry, and apple. More trees will be added later in the year. District Councillor Rosemary Kaberry-Brown helped establish the orchard with a donation from her ward member grant. The cemetery path has also been completely renovated.

Parish councillor Andrew Newton with volunteers Sue Heighton and Dave Jeffery in the community orchard in Ancaster. (48522014)
Parish councillor Andrew Newton with volunteers Sue Heighton and Dave Jeffery in the community orchard in Ancaster. (48522014)

With the help of a government business support grant of £10,000, the parish hall has been completely re-decorated and refurbished. Two new windows, LED Lights, a new fire door, new extractor fans and water heaters including non-touch taps and light switches have been installed. Display cabinets have been fixed in the porch which eventually will house a history of the village.

A Christmas tree has been planted at the side of the parish hall and it is planned to decorate it every year. District Councillor Ian Stokes also helped support this with a grant.

A new bus shelter has been built on the A153 at the top of Rookery Lane with a grant from Lincolnshire County Council. It is hoped this will help with the village’s application to continue
the existing 40mph speed limit through West Willoughby.

Andrew Newton and Colin Heighton plant one of the trees in the community orchard in Ancaster. (48521951)
Andrew Newton and Colin Heighton plant one of the trees in the community orchard in Ancaster. (48521951)

Parish councillor Andrew Newton said: “With the help of grants from Rosemary and also from the Lincolnshire County Council Wildlife Fund, we have purchased 42 fruit trees, whilst Rosemary’s SKDC grant was used to purchase a variety of commercial fruit trees. The LCC grant was awarded on the understanding that Lincolnshire Heritage fruit trees were purchased, some of which can be traced back to Lincolnshire growers in the 1700’s.

Mr Newton added: “The idea for the community orchard came from watching a Rick Stein programme when he joined Tim Smith at the Eden Project and visited a new orchard planted with over 300 heritage fruit trees to help preserve traditional variety trees.

“Ancaster Parish Council has already put together a community team of volunteers to manage the orchard. Involvement from St Martin’s Primary School children in planting the second phase in November is also planned, along with a visit from BBC Radio Lincolnshire. The first 23 trees have
already been planted in March.”

Visitors will be able to look at a map of the layout of the orchard on information lecterns and read about the history of the trees.

The harvest from the trees will be made available within the parish, including the school and food bank as the trees mature. The orchard will also provide a sanctuary for wildlife and a peaceful place to visit alongside the cemetery and Moor Closes Nature Reserve.



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