24th Apr, 2019

New community orchard at Coventry's medieval Charterhouse

Volunteers have helped create a community orchard in the gardens of one of Coventry’s finest medieval buildings.

The Charterhouse, which is a Grade I Listed 14th century Carthusian monastery, is to be transformed by Historic Coventry Trust into a major visitor attraction ahead of Coventry being UK City of Culture in 2021.

The first stage has involved the creation of a community orchard within the parkland and walled gardens.

Residents’ associations selected a mix of apples, pears, plums and cherries for a mixed fruit orchard.

In addition to the trees planted in the park, the groups have bought a selection of smaller trees which they are tending in the medieval walled garden for later planting.

Local resident and tree expert Wayne Allen, of Allen Arboriculture, oversaw the planting.

He arranged for pupils from All Saints Church of England Primary School in Strathmore Avenue, Coventry, to help with the project.

Warwickshire Wildlife Trust has also helped with organising volunteering and advising Historic Coventry Trust to ensure the wider heritage park will be a haven for wildlife.

Funding from the Postcode Local Trust of £20,000 and a further £5,000 from The Finnis Scott Foundation have covered project costs.

Nearly 50 semi-mature fruit trees along with smaller trees for later use in the gardens and park have been purchased.

The grants have also covered the cost of laying out the site, all materials and archaeological work.

Chairman of the Historic Coventry Trust Ian Harrabin said: “We believe our plans will have a significant positive impact on the local community and the community orchard is part of our wider plans to create a 70-acre Heritage Park ahead of 2021. These are exciting times.

“We are also going to re-instate the fish ponds and add a dipping platform so the overall aim is to create a wildlife haven, educational area and riverside walks.”

Anna Squires from the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust said: “A community orchard is a fantastic idea; local volunteers and school pupils have helped plant a selection of trees, which will soon provide fruit.

“It will be a great educational resource once work to this part of the park is completed, with a pond and wildflower meadows.”

Historic Coventry Trust has been working in partnership with Coventry City Council to restore the medieval building, its walled gardens and grounds, to create a heritage visitor centre and educational attraction as well as creating the first 30 acres of the planned 70-acre Heritage Park.

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