Trail of fruit and flowers

PLANS to create a corridor of fragrance and fruit alongside the Tarka Trail will take root with the planting of a mini-orchard just outside Bideford.

Prompted by the sight of a few apple trees already growing alongside the trail – probably from apple cores discarded by walkers or train travellers of the past – Tom Hynes of the North Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Biosphere Service had the idea to plant more.

With the help of the Bideford Sustainability Group, the first six are being planted on Saturday morning (March 5) alongside the trail just north of the former Bideford railway station.

Anyone wanting to join in is asked to be there just before 10am.

The six trees will be native West Country species suited to the conditions and with

evocative names such as Devonshire Quarrenden, Oaken Pin, Pitmaston Pineapple, and Veitches Perfection.

In a time of fuel shortage and climate change, it’s the aim of the Bideford Sustainability Group to encourage more people to become more self-sufficient and to grow their own food. They are hoping that in a few years’ time walkers and cyclists will stop by the side of the trail to pick an apple for themselves.

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Tom said: “This is a perfect division of interests. We at NDABS can fund the purchase of the trees, Devon County Council are willing to lease the land and the BSG can plant the trees and maintain them and the site. We hope jointly to produce information boards about the orchard soon. Ideally, I’d like the Tarka Trail to be a linear orchard through North Devon’s Biosphere Reserve. And it’s not just humans who will benefit, wildlife like apples, too, especially birds such as fieldfares and green woodpeckers. Thanks to NDABS and the BSG, the Tarka Trail could soon be a corridor fragrant with blossom and bright with fruit.”

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