Glenrothes park regulars set for rich pickings

L-R 'Kath Allan, local resident; David Cooper from 'Friends of Riverside Park' and 'Johanna Willi, Biodiversity Co-Ordinator at Fie Council. 'Pic by Phil Wilkinson.
L-R 'Kath Allan, local resident; David Cooper from 'Friends of Riverside Park' and 'Johanna Willi, Biodiversity Co-Ordinator at Fie Council. 'Pic by Phil Wilkinson.

A community orchard in the town’s main parkland area is to be given a new lease of life thanks to the support of a new national initiative.

A community orchard, which has more than 160 plum and apple trees, was planted five years ago by Fife Council and the Friends of Riverside Park, but in recent times has become a little neglected.

But now Helping Britain Blossom, a new UK-wide initiative to promote the use and benefits of community orchards, has joined forces with members of the Friends of Riverside Park volunteer group to help make the public more aware of the local orchard.

The partnership, which was invited by Fife Council to help provide expertise and advice to the Glenrothes community, is seeking a team of volunteers to look after the orchard throughout the seasons with its support.

Clementine Sandison from Helping Britain Blossom told the Gazette the aim was to make the orchard a valuable community resource.

“We’ve already been working alongside Fife Council and Buglife to help plant a beautiful wildflower meadow in the orchard to increase the biodiversity and help with the pollination of the fruit trees,” she explained.

“With so many trees to care for, we now need a team of local volunteers, who would like to improve or learn new skills, to come together to care for the orchard throughout the year.

“Activities will include winter and summer pruning days, mulching and of course harvesting all the fantastic fruit.

“Not everyone knows about this wonderful orchard right on their doorstep and the fruit it is capable of producing, so we are looking for people who can spread the word.

Orchards like this are great for bringing communities together, learning about wildlife, spending time in nature, sharing skills and producing delicious fruit for all to enjoy. We’d love lots of local families and schools to join in, so if you’re interested in volunteering, please do get in touch.”

Johanna Willi, biodiversity co-ordinator at Fife Council added: “We are very fortunate to have a large orchard of around 160 trees in the beautiful Riverside Park in Glenrothes, which is there for all to use and enjoy.

“Nine varieties of apple and plum were planted in 2010. But it wasn’t until we were approached by Helping Britain Blossom that we saw an opportunity to begin to involve the community more actively.

“There is now a dedicated orchard leader who will be working to engage the community in the orchard – from training events to apple days.

“We’re really delighted with this fruitful partnership.”

For more information about Riverside Park orchard contact Clementine Sandison on 07872 071712 or by email to clementine@theurbanorchardproject.org.

Or why not visit their Facebook page - Helping Britain Blossom.