THIS sign in the Riverside, not
far from Nantwch town centre, says it all.
It invites local people to sample the fruit
in the Community Orchard when it ripens around mid September.
The orchard is In Nantwich
Riverside, accessed by a gap in the houses on the River
Weaver side of Shrewbridge Road. This leads to a footpath
that goes past the orchard on its way across a river bridge
leading to Queen's drive. The orchard is on the left of the
It is a community
orchard in two senses. It is for the benefit of the community,
and has been planted and tended by different groups from the community.
From a humble
beginning of just four trees in 2008 - planted by
Alderman Doug Butterill (one-time Chairman of Nantwich in
Bloom) and pupils of Weaver Primary School - the orchard has been
further developed over the years. Nine apple trees
were planted by Cheshire Landscape trust in 2011, with nine
more the following year.
In 2013, a special
ceremony was held to commemorate local orchard fruit expert,
Tony Gentil, whose idea the orchard was. A plaque in his
memory was unveiled by his widow, Elizabeth.
Tony was one
of the country's leading experts on fruit trees. The
ceremony was held in February 2013, a year
after Tony died.
Tony, a lecturer at
Reasheath College, was formerly
deputy head of the college's horticulture department and
later head of business and management.
were planted in the orchard in stages over the years and the
currently include 14 dessert apples and nine cooking
varieties. There are also two named pippins and six unnamed
These are from the fruit tree nursery that was run
Tony and Elizabeth - Briarfields
Orchards, at their home in Aston, Nantwich. Sadly, the business is no longer
If that is not
enough, there are two pear trees and one damson tree.
Since then Nantwich
in Bloom - the committee behind
the award-winning flower displays in town - have sourced many local Cheshire varieties of fruit
Students from Reaseheath College
were involved in planting more trees in 2015.
More pear trees
and damson trees - including old Cheshire varieties - will be
planted in coming years.
l Read the full feature on the commemoration ceremony
Nantwich in Bloom index