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Worcestershire orchard owners urged to take up restoration cash
4:20pm Friday 8th March 2013 in Local
WORCESTERSHIRE County Council is urging orchard owners to take advantage of funding on offer to help restore the county's orchard heritage.
The council, working in partnership with Natural England, is offering grants to preserve traditional orchards.
So far, more than 20 hectares of traditional orchard have been earmarked for restoration work, including new tree planting and pruning.
Applications for grants are being accepted until next Friday and orchard owners are urged to consider applying for funding to preserve the habitats within the Worcestershire landscape. All work must take place by the end of December this year.
The Worcester Orchard Workers, a volunteer group, will be carrying out work in some of the orchards to be restored through the grant scheme.
The group was formed to promote preservation and care of fruit trees scattered across the city of Worcester, many of which are the remains of extensive areas of orchard dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries, since incorporated into parks and private gardens as housing development replaced horticultural land.
The group now finds its services and expertise in demand beyond the city's boundaries and it supports the activities of community orchards and private orchard owners in other areas of Worcestershire.
Grants have also been made to restore old farm orchards, with owners keen to preserve the contribution of orchards to the character of the local landscape.
Also receiving protection is the heritage and genetic value existing within the locally distinctive varieties of fruit bred by Worcestershire nurserymen over more than 150 years.
The county council's environmental projects officer, Rebecca Lashley, said: "This funding is enabling some of our oldest traditional orchards to be revitalised, enhancing Worcestershire's landscape and protecting wildlife.
“Applications can be accepted until March 15 so we urge orchard owners to get in touch."
The county council cabinet member with responsibility for the environment, Conservative Anthony Blagg, added: "The county council is delighted to be able to support orchard owners and community volunteers in safeguarding the heritage, landscape and wildlife value intrinsic to Worcestershire's old traditional orchards."
For more information or to request an application form phone Rebecca Lashley on 01905 766852 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.