Bringing community together with orchard

Community Orchard planting at Leys Hill, Hemel Hempstead. From left in landscape picture, Andrew Bartley, Adam Rogan and Sean Ryan of Tree Life, Andrew's wife Jill and dog Archie and Suqlain Mahmood.'
Community Orchard planting at Leys Hill, Hemel Hempstead. From left in landscape picture, Andrew Bartley, Adam Rogan and Sean Ryan of Tree Life, Andrew's wife Jill and dog Archie and Suqlain Mahmood.'

A new community orchard has taken root in Bennetts End with the planting of apple, pear and cherry trees.

And the project is expected to grow over the coming years with plum and damson trees to be added in the future.

On Friday, Bennetts End householders Andrew and Jill Bartley – who came up with the idea for a new wood to mark the the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year – were joined by councillor for the area Suqlain Mahmood at the chosen Leys Road site for the first planting carried out by staff from woodland management firm Treelife.

Mr Mahmood, who has been working with Dacorum Borough Council’s gardening team to bring the project to fruition, said: “This is a winning environmental initiative that will increase biodiversity, promote varied wildlife habitat with bees benefitting from the blossom and butterflies sucking the nectar, to birds making new homes.

“Most important of all this will become a community legacy project not only for Bennetts End community action but also for future generations to enjoy.”

Mr Bartley said: “We are keen to see more local community action to bring about neighbourliness and pride where we live.”

The new season of Bennetts End Neighbourhood Action meetings start on Monday at Bennetts End Community Centre from 7.30pm.