Restoration of old cherry orchard in Kenilworth underway

A project to restore an old cherry orchard on a patch of land in Kenilworth got underway on Tuesday March 29 when the first saplings were planted.

Monday, 4th April 2016, 11:35 am
Updated Monday, 4th April 2016, 11:41 am
The group that planted the first saplings for the new cherry tree orchard NNL-160329-211535009

Land next to the Cherry Orchard Recycling Centre was thought to have several cherry trees growing in it during the 19th century, and twelve new saplings have been planted on the site to try and recreate the natural life cycle that was present there.

Kenilworth residents John and Heather Davies came up with the idea to restore the orchards after they made jam from cherries given to them by their friends, Julie Sharman, five years ago.

He said: “Julie lives in a house near the road, Cherry Orchard in Kenilworth, and in whose garden stands what we believe to be the last remaining cherry tree from the original orchard site.

“Leaving the cherry stones outside in a plant pot in the garden over the winter, we were surprised in the Spring to see some had survived the snow, hail and freezing conditions, and were sprouting.

“These were potted up and nurtured until we had nearly thirty small, healthy cherry saplings.

“Some of these were sold at the Kenilworth Lions Show last year to support the Kenilworth Allotment Tenants Association, some have been given to friends with gardens big enough for a fully-grown cherry tree, and finally we have twelve sturdy saplings that we want to plant back at Cherry Orchard.

“When we were first given the cherries, their stones they didn’t mean anything to us, but after a time it occurred to us that we could use the stones to complete the cycle that was originally in the orchard.

“There has been a massive interruption of that cycle, and since the land is not being used we thought it would a nice idea.”

Once the landowners Warwickshire Waste Management agreed to let the trees be planted on the site, Warwickshire County Council’s tree officer Jason Tombs devised a planting scheme.

Sarah Shuttleworth from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust gave advice to the group on where the best sites for the saplings would be and Philip Harris of Warwick Tree Wardens acted as site manager on Tuesday.

Sarah Mcnab, who runs her own gardening business in Kenilworth, also helped out with digging and planting the saplings on the day.

John added: “All I can say is we’ve done or best for them.

“We will wait with anticipation to see if the saplings develop and grow into fully mature cherry trees, and perhaps we can start the cycle all over again.”