Easebourne Primary School children plant an orchard

Planting begins
Planting begins

EASEBOURNE Primary School children have played their part in conserving heritage apples by planting their own orchard.

Headteacher Johnny Culley and parent Melanie Moss have been working on the project with Petra Billings from the Sussex Wildlife Trust and Angela Ward, South Downs National Park ranger. The project is jointly funded by the two organisations.

The trees were planted by Year 5 children and their families who turned out on a cold February morning.

Mr Culley said: “The children were very excited to be involved at the start of this tremendous project.

“I am told we can hope to have the first fruit in three years and the children will enjoy matching the shapes, colours and tastes to the various exotic names.”

A wide mix of heritage fruit trees were selected, including 12 apple varieties, three crab apples and a Victoria plum of Sussex origin.

The children are learning not only about the importance of fruit-growing, but the value of orchards for wildlife.

Petra said: “Fruit trees provide a valuable food source for wildlife, from the nectar of apple blossom to the fallen apples which support winter birds like fieldfares and redwings, from the bats which roost in old tree trunks to beetles such as the splendid noble chafer which lives in old pruned wood or woodpecker holes.”