Volunteers dig deep to plant Burley community orchard

Ilkley Gazette: Six-year-old Felicity Brayshaw with a tree she planted Six-year-old Felicity Brayshaw with a tree she planted

A large group of volunteers has planted a community orchard in Burley-in-Wharfedale that will be enjoyed for generations to come.

The planting took place on a windy Sunday morning, and volunteers of all ages, from children through to teenagers and beyond, dug holes, planted trees and staked.

The hard-working team was rewarded with mince pies and coffee as they stood back and admired their work in Burley House Field.

The youngest volunteer, at just six years old, was Felicity Brayshaw who worked alongside her dad.

She said she wanted to watch her tree grow and bring back her children in years to come.

The orchard is made up of some 30 fruit trees including apples, pears, damsons and plums.

Many originate from Yorkshire or the North of England with names like Dog’s Snout, New Bess Pool and Grandpa Buxton.

Other projects are now under way on the field, including the installation of information boards and benches. Recent work on the dry stone walls of the hahas has become more obvious as the undergrowth has been cleared.

Burley House Field has two hahas crossing the field. For many years these have been hidden beneath brambles and trees and the Prospect Road haha is now being renovated. The stone is being dug out, laid out on the grass and reused.

A haha consists of a hidden wall and a deep ditch, neither of which can be seen from the house. Burley House built the haha to ensure they had uninterrupted views from garden to parkland and this invisible barrier also kept the livestock from straying.

Parish Council chairman John Grimshaw said: “People within Burley have all pulled together to make Burley House Field a community attraction and the planting of the orchard will enhance the field and add something special within the village.”

A working group meets on the second Sunday of each month, from 10am to noon.

Check the information boards at either gate for more information about volunteering or what to look for in the field over the coming months.

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