Orchard to bear fruit in schools

Dr Robin Sen with the grit which comprises part of the cocktail of soil additives which the group are having to use to establish the trees on such a difficult site. NBUA120308A.
Dr Robin Sen with the grit which comprises part of the cocktail of soil additives which the group are having to use to establish the trees on such a difficult site. NBUA120308A.

A community orchard with a difference is being planted on a challenging site in Edale.

Sustainable Edale are creating the orchard to benefit the whole community and on Saturday volunteers turned out to start work planting 28 traditional varieties of British apples.

The nature of the site means that various measures have been taken to improve the fertility of the soil.

Instead of fertilizers and pesticides, a fungal-based biological fertilizer is being used in the project, overseen by Dr Robin Sen, an Edale resident and a soil scientist at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The soils and trees together with plant, insect and animal biodiversity at the site will be monitored by his 3rd year undergraduate project students as part of work to develop sustainable cropping strategies.

Dr Sen also plans to run a school field education programme targeting primary and secondary levels.

Support for the orchard project has been provided from the Peak District National Park, The National Trust, The Woodland Trust, Lafarge Aggregates Ltd, PlantWorks Ltd and local community and individual sponsorship.

The orchard is also part of the “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee” programme to raise awareness of the importance of woodlands.