Along the side of the park, near the railway line, is a strip of land that used to be allotments that belonged to British Rail and was used by railway workers. From 1997 the land was sold to a series of private owners at auction and over time the land was used to dump rubbish on and the weeds ran riot – turning the land into a tip and rat haven! Eventually local residents, with support from the Midlands Co-operative Society, raised nearly £7,000 to buy the land and restore as a community orchard. In 2005 the job of clearing the land began most of the early hard work was taken on by Gordon who worked tirelessly to clear the weeds, rubble and rubbish. In 2006 we received a grant from Birmingham Trees for Life to undertake some of the heavy tree work and to purchase the fruit trees. The first trees were planted at an apple day event in October 2006. The rest of the trees were planted in the Spring of 2007. The tree varieties are a mixture of traditional and modern chosen for us by Nick Dunn, from Frank P Matthews a company that has been supplying fruit trees for more than 100 years. Nick’s grandfather was responsible for supplying all the Bournville Village Trust houses with fruit trees for their gardens. When those houses were built all the houses were planted with 4 fruit trees at the construction stage. Outdoor Classroom Spring 2008 saw the start of work on our “outdoor classroom”. With a kind financial donation from a local resident, a design produced by an FoCP member and oak sourced from Pepper Wood near Bromsgrove we are creating seating in the orchard. The seating enables local schools, community groups, families and friends to make the most of the learning and leisure opportunities in the orchard. Cotteridge Community Orchard is now home to our Forest School and Bushcraft Club. Compost Bins We use all the green matter from around the orchard and the park to create our own compost and leaf mould. Vegetables and Soft Fruit The orchard also includes raspberries, wild strawberries, blackberries and blackcurrant. There are also beds where the local school grows some vegetables. Willow and Hazel Coppices The orchard is also home to our willow and hazel coppices – which provide materials for craft and horticultural projects.
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