New Mills Community Orchard wins green flag status for 13th year

A community orchard in New Mills has secured green flag status for a 13th year – a feat organisers have hailed as ‘record breaking’.
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The prestigious achievement recognises the hard work of volunteers who not only have to maintain the standards from the previous year but also build on it in order to receive the green flag status.

Lance Dowson, who is chairman of the Friends of New Mills Community Orchard, said: “The orchard has been a labour of love for 20 years and to be given green flag status for a 13th year is a record-breaking achievement and I’m so proud.”

The Green Flag award, organised by the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, is the international quality mark for parks and green spaces, and the volunteers have won the award for their sterling efforts on the St Mary’s Road site.

New Mills Community OrchardNew Mills Community Orchard
New Mills Community Orchard

The orchard was started almost 20 years ago after a field which was rented out to a farmer was returned to New Mills Town Council.

Lance said: “There used to be a community orchard in New Mills on this field in 1640 so it seemed fitting we should try and bring it back.

“Steve Lewis, our parks and leisure manager, was instrumental in setting up the orchard.

“We received a grant from the National Lottery and involved the local school who planted lots of trees.

“Now 18 years on we have those children who have grown up and have their own children come back to the orchard and pick the fruit from the trees they planted.”

The orchard has grown over the years, and there are now soft fruit bushes as well as hard fruit trees and beehives too.

Lance said: “We have worked with the council and now all the new trees which are planted in New Mills have to be fruit trees, which is great news as they will be here for generations feeding people.”

All the work at the orchard is carried out by a handful of volunteers, and Lance said this made receiving the green flag status all the more rewarding.

Keep Britain Tidy’s chief executive, Allison Ogden-Newton, added: “Parks are often the beating heart of a community, providing countless benefits to people and wildlife.”

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