The Countryside Restoration Trust (CRT) has been awarded a £15,000 grant by the Postcode Community Trust; a grant giving charity, funded by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

The grant will help the CRT achieve the long-term aims for its new community orchard at Lark Rise Farm in Barton, Cambridgeshire.

What are these long-term aims?

While also being an integral part of the charity’s education programme, the orchard will enhance local wildlife and provide a relaxing space open to the public to enjoy all-year-round.

“We’re extremely thankful to the players of People’s Postcode Lottery for their support in helping us create a wildlife-friendly orchard for the local community,” said Hayley Neal, fundraising manager at the CRT.

As well as planting 250 heritage tree varieties, we intend to put the grant towards building a tranquil atmosphere with picnic benches, bird boxes, information boards, secure fencing and hedgerows.

The orchard will also help to provide a safe, secure environment for children to engage with nature, the seasons and food origins.

“The new orchard will enhance the learning opportunities for local primary schools at Lark Rise Farm and support the teaching of plants and healthy eating and the living things in their habitats,” said Gerry Turner, education manager at the CRT.

“With a significant drop in understanding of the natural world around younger generations; our innovative yet traditional farms and orchards give children an enjoyable outdoor learning experience.”

The field, in which the community orchard now exists, was said to have had a very light-touch farming approach and was predominantly used to encourage wildlife.

Benefit wintering birds

“It’s already home to a regular pair of barn owls and with more trees, the blossom will support declining pollinators in spring and leftover fruit will benefit wintering birds, such as the Mistle thrush,” explained Dr. Vince Lea, head of wildlife monitoring at the CRT.

“Bullfinches should enjoy the flower buds in spring, and green woodpeckers will find plenty of ants in the grassland. Once the trees are big enough they may even make nest holes in the branches.”

Since Dame Judi Dench planted the first tree during National Tree Week in November last year, three ‘big dig’ events in January and February saw 200 trees planted by individuals, businesses and schools.

If you would like to sponsor one of the remaining 50 trees to be planted at ‘big dig’ events later this year, call: 01-223-262999; or email: [email protected].

The community is now open to the public.