A COMMUNITY orchard has been planted in Blackrod to help improve green spaces in the area.

Around 50 residents came out to help plant the orchard at the end of Greenbarn Way, including students from Blackrod Primary.

It is hoped that the community will continue to be involved year-round with pruning and general care of the site and ensure its longevity.

The orchard includes 35 fruit trees, consisting of apples, pears, cherries and plums, with the final harvest to be available to everyone in the community to pick as they like, and it is expected that local schools will use the space for educational activities.

“This was a most successful community effort,” said Cllr Alan Bury, chair of the Blackrod Neighbourhood Plan Delivery Group.

The Blackrod Community Orchard is a project that is part of the neighbourhood plan, which seeks to improve housing, transport and infrastructure, the natural environment and village centre and retail, among others, and is as a result of public consultation and implementation.

Cllr Bury added: “This orchard project is just the start of a number of environmental projects aimed at enhancing local green spaces and bringing them back into use to be enjoyed by the residents of Blackrod.

“People have said in earlier consultations they want an orchard, local places to walk their dogs, an outdoor place to meet for a chat, sit for a while and enjoy a view, have a safe place for their children to play and enjoy the flowers and wildlife.”

"These are all things that help the physical and mental wellbeing of people and through the various community projects we hope to be able to deliver these.”

This project is something of a quick win for the delivery group, with future projects expected to take much longer.

Next up, which is expected to take between 12 and 18 months, is a project that will create a ‘community amenity’ area on a green space on Whitehall Lane.

Beyond that, the group has already had discussions regarding new trees and hedge planting and will shortly hosting a public consultation exercise to determine what local children want to see in the space.