For National Tree Week, pupils from St Peter’s RC Primary School in Billericay, have been helping to plant an orchard at Barleylands.  Twenty four apple trees of different varieties were supplied by Edible Essex, a project managed by the Rural Community Council of Essex, and planted by six members of the school’s Gardening Club.

The Education Team at Barleylands will be working closely with the school to help them understand the best way to plant and care for apple trees. The orchard will also play an important part of Barleyland’s educational programme, teaching children about where food comes from.  All school children and members of the public who visit Barleylands can access the orchard and in a couple of years time when the first fruit appears, will be able to take part in harvesting, apple pressing and other apple-related activities.

The very wet weather made the ground very boggy and the children wasted no time in getting stuck in (the mud) and planting two of the Bramley apple trees.  Peter Skulski, a gardening club member, enjoyed putting the mud back into the ground. “It was good to plant the trees because people will be able to pick the apples and eat them or make apple pies!”  Imogen McNab thought “it was really fun because next time I visit Barleylands I can see how the tree I planted is growing”.

National Tree Week runs from 24th November to 2nd December and is the UK’s largest tree celebration annually launching the start of the winter tree planting season.  Edible Essex is funded by the Big Lottery’s Local Food Programme and managed by the Rural Community Council of Essex.  The project aims to increase the number of people growing, sourcing and using local food.