01:53AM, Thursday 26 January 2012
Cherry, pear and quince trees were among those planted in a new orchard at the Woolley Firs estate on Saturday.
Members of newly-formed volunteer group Friends of Woolley Firs gathered at the site off Cherry Garden Lane in Littlewick Green to plant 31 different varieties of traditional Berkshire fruit tree.
It is hoped they will not only provide an ideal habitat for insects such as ladybirds and beetles, but will also prove a great opportunity for visiting school children to understand where produce comes from.
The orchard will be cared for by the Friends of Woolley Firs, who eventually hope to use the fruits to make home made jams.
The volunteer group was set up to help with the practical management of the estate and community involvement is welcomed.
In 2010 Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust signed a 99-year lease with the Woolley Firs Conservation Trust for the management of the estate.
Since then work has been taking place to transform a derelict Grade II-listed stable block into an education centre for children from the surrounding areas to enjoy.
The centre will house a classroom for 30 children, as well as fully accessible toilets and a kitchen.
Outside the orchard will accompany an outdoor classroom with a pond, a tree trail in the existing arboretum and a chalk grassland bank.
The Wildlife Trust is within touching distance of the £875,000 it needs for the centre, which is set to open in the spring, but donations are always welcome.
Visit www.bbowt.org.uk for details.
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