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Community Orchards

Welwyn Hatfield Council are planting a number of Community Orchards within the Borough. The long term aim is to develop small orchards or easily accessible fruit trees within every ward. To ensure this project is sustainable and continues to be enjoyed and appreciated through future years, the Tree Wardens are key to delivering this dream. Community Orchards offer an excellent place for people to relax, work and learn. They are a way of reviving an interest in traditional horticultural skills as well as enabling people to engage with nature and gain an understanding of where their food comes from.

The first six trees planted at Woodhall Community Orchard

Orchards

Orchards are a groups of five or more fruit trees. The climate of the East of England is perfect for cultivating apples, pears, cherries, plums and gages. Historically Welwyn Hatfield had many orchards, supplying fruit for the farming families and surrounding markets. Many have been lost but some remnants can be found fragmented across private gardens and open spaces.

Each of our orchards varies in size and utilises many different varieties of fruit trees and are freely accessible for any open space visitor.

Tree Wardens undertake tree maintenance and weeding on the cherry avenue at Woodhall Community Orchard

Where there is no suitable land available for a micro-orchard, single fruit trees will be incorporated within the public landscape. This gives opportunities for planting unusual trees which may be too large to plant in groups.

Where are they?

Our largest orchard is sited at Woodhall open space at the junction of Chequers and Broadwater Road, Welwyn Garden City.

Micro-orchards can be found at:

  • Stonehills, WGC (opposite John Lewis)
  • Furzefield Road, WGC (open space)
  • Lemsford Lane and Newfields, WGC (the junction of)
  • Beehive Green, WGC
  • Sheepcote, WGC (near Howlands)
  • School Lane and White Hill, Welwyn (openspace)
  • Comet Way, Hatfield (rear of Talbot Road)
  • Alban Way, Hatfield (at Branch Close, Ground Lane and Foxhollows), and
  • Forge Orchard, Hertford Road, Digswell (keyholder access only)

Aims for the Orchards

  • to plant and cultivate local and/or unusual varieties of fruit
  • be open and free for the public to enjoy
  • to encourage community involvement or focal point for community activities such as open air plays, picnics or fetes
  • to encourage opportunities for learning new skills like pruning and grafting
  • encourage wildlife to inhabit the area, especially pollinators, mosses and lichens
  • provide an educational resource for local schools and open air classroom
  • be used as a meeting place for local events such as Apple Day, May Day and Wassailing
  • to raise awareness of orchard projects
  • to promote the health benefits of eating fruit, pickling and tasting new fruits
  • to raise awareness of where fruit comes from and how it grows
  • encourage people to plant fruit trees in their own gardens

Getting involved

The orchards are overseen in partnership with our Tree Warden group. If you would like to get involved with planting, growing and enjoying fruit trees, please join the Tree Wardens and you will be invited to all working groups, talks and training sessions. Tree Warden tasks include:

  • choosing the fruit varieties
  • planting the trees
  • monitoring protective guards, fencing, ties and stakes
  • undertake light general maintenance
  • observe flowering and fruiting
  • talking to interested parties
  • eating fruit!
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