A new tree-planting scheme will see mini orchards pop up in North Devon primary schools.

The training was provided by Orchards Live in association with Atlas Packaging. Picture: Seth ConwayThe training was provided by Orchards Live in association with Atlas Packaging. Picture: Seth Conway

The Our School Orchard project launched on Monday and will see different varieties of apple trees planted by pupils.

School trusts already on board with Our School Orchard include Tarka Learning Partnership and TEAM Multi-Academy Trust.

Pupils and teachers received training in how best to plant a young apple tree and how to make it grow and produce fruit. Each school has taken three trees away, with pupils returning to school to teach fellow students what they've learned.

The project is a collaboration between Orchards Live, an organisation looking to reverse the decline of apple orchards, and Barnstaple's Atlas Packaging.

Each school have taken three rare and traditional varieties of apple tree away with them to plant at their schools. Picture: Seth ConwayEach school have taken three rare and traditional varieties of apple tree away with them to plant at their schools. Picture: Seth Conway

Orchards Live's Jeff Adams hoped schools would be able to allocate time each season to learning more about the trees and looking after them.

"The project is ultimately about children having fun outside and learning with nature," he said.

"It's not necessarily focussed on fitting into the national curriculum, it's about having that experience of planting a tree, looking after it, watching it grow as they themselves grow during their time at school and hopefully taking that interest in the environment around them on for the rest of their lives.

Cardboard packaging company Atlas Packaging already gets its paper base from sustainable sources, but managing director Jason Sharman said the company wanted to do more.

"When we partnered with Orchards Live it became clear that both organisations wanted it to be more than just trees and so we focussed on education," he said.

"The result is Our School Orchard, and now we're helping children to learn about the seasonality of food and where it comes from, as well as planting traditional local apples."