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Fenland Orchards Project in Wisbech officially opened





It was a time to celebrate progress made and to look forward to the future when the community orchard at the Fenland Orchards Project in Wisbech was officially opened.

Mayor of Wisbech Peter Human opened the Lynn Road project, which was started due to the noticeable decline of orchards in the area and has been funded over the past three years by £250,000 of Heritage Lottery money. Another three years of funding has just been announced.

The day was also celebrating 21 years of the CP Learning Trust which the project is part of.

Fenland Orchards Project orchards opening
Fenland Orchards Project orchards opening
Fenland Orchards Project orchards opening, from left: Cambridgeshire's High Sheriff Dr Bharatkumar Khetani , Sara Basuc of CP Learning Trust and Wisbech Mayor Peter Human
Fenland Orchards Project orchards opening, from left: Cambridgeshire's High Sheriff Dr Bharatkumar Khetani , Sara Basuc of CP Learning Trust and Wisbech Mayor Peter Human

People were invited to see the progress made on the Project, explore the site, enjoy some snacks and meet the people that the community orchard what it is today.

Community development worker Andrew Callaghan said the site currently has 2,000 daffodils, 100 Norfolk and Cambridgeshire heritage fruit trees, and 1,412 other trees and shrubs forming hedgerows and screening.

“We have laid a new row of hazel so in three to five years we can run workshops on hedge laying, Everything we do is looking forward and that’s been the whole idea behind it.

Fenland Orchards Project orchards opening
Fenland Orchards Project orchards opening
Fenland Orchards Project orchards opening
Fenland Orchards Project orchards opening

“What was once the only building on site has been used as a rest room but now has been turned into a classroom so when schools come to visit they can come over here for education, go over there for planting, go other the other side for bug hunting.

“But in here we can be a little more serious and teach people things.”

A second building is used for Heritage Green Skills outdoor workshops, with wood carving coming up in April, flint knapping in May, willow weaving in June and cooking in October.

Andrew added: “Volunteers can come at any time and look after the orchard but then they can take part in workshops and learn skills.

Sara Basuc of CP Learning Trust, Cambridgeshire's High Sheriff Dr Bharatkumar Khetani, Andrew Callaghan, Wisbech Mayor Peter Human and Malcolm Smith
Sara Basuc of CP Learning Trust, Cambridgeshire's High Sheriff Dr Bharatkumar Khetani, Andrew Callaghan, Wisbech Mayor Peter Human and Malcolm Smith
Fenland Orchards Project orchards opening
Fenland Orchards Project orchards opening

“Twelve to 18 months ago it was just a ploughed field and we have chosen selective agricultural regeneration which means we are letting things grow naturally and when we recognise what it is and if it going to be beneficial it stays, and if not it goes.

“We have just discovered that we are cultivating wild carrots so they will be staying.

“The pond has been dug for a while but now lined and laid and we’ve already had two ducks land on it which cheered everyone up.

Sara Basuc of CP Learning Trust, Cambridgeshire's High Sheriff Dr Bharatkumar Khetani, Andrew Callaghan, Wisbech Mayor Peter Human and Malcolm Smith
Sara Basuc of CP Learning Trust, Cambridgeshire's High Sheriff Dr Bharatkumar Khetani, Andrew Callaghan, Wisbech Mayor Peter Human and Malcolm Smith
Sara Basuc of the CP Learning Trust
Sara Basuc of the CP Learning Trust

“The Mayor opened it today and the High Sheriff also visited, plus representatives from Tesco, the College of West Anglia, and lots of others who are going to help with the future of this.”

It is also supported by members of Cambridgeshire County Council, Wisbech in Bloom, the Wisbech & Fenland Museum, Natural Cambridgeshire, Orchards Academy and Clarion Housing.

“There’s some big plans for the site and it should be fun. In a few years time, all the hedgerows we’ve planted will be nice and big, the fruit trees will be blooming and with the allotments we can then start not only growing food but processing it as well to take to groups as charitable gifts or for cooking workshops.”

Malcolm Smith and Sheilagh Smith
Malcolm Smith and Sheilagh Smith
Fenland Orchards Project orchards opening
Fenland Orchards Project orchards opening
Andrew Callaghan
Andrew Callaghan
Andrew Callaghan
Andrew Callaghan

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