21st May, 2018

Restoration of historic Coventry orchard takes root with a pippin

AN historic orchard in Stoke, Coventry, which was neglected for decades, is being brought back to life by dedicated volunteers.

And pictured was the symbolic moment when the team gathered to plant fruit trees at the orchard – the first trees to be planted there for over 30 years.

Fittingly, one of the trees they planted was a Wyken Pippin, the apple variety which originated in Coventry in the early 1700s.

The orchard is behind a high fence alongside the Binley Road-A444 roundabout.

At one time it was a beautiful garden behind a large house on Binley Road which in the 1980s was a music venue known as The Stoker.

But then came the north-south road, and the house and about two-thirds of the garden were lost under the roundabout and dual carriageway.

Terry Little of West Avenue, Stoke Park, and Ann Wilson, of North Avenue, city tree wardens, have been leading lights in the orchard restoration.

Terry said: “The orchard goes back to at least the 1800s and some of the original trees are still there. But after the road was built it was neglected for 30 years.”

The Coventry City Council realised it had something special on its hands, and turned the overgrown orchard over to the tree wardens, he said.

That was about four years ago and since then the 30-odd volunteers have been getting the land under control.

“We have to create the vision for how we want it to end up. But each year we have seen more blossom. We are winning,” said Terry.

It’s hoped that the orchard will eventually become a community asset, used by schools for nature studies, and possibly opened up for people to see on the city’s heritage open days.

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