Invitation to locals to enjoy orchard's fruits

 August 2016








The sign by the community orchard in Riverside inviting local people to sample the fruit

THE sign in the Riverside, just off 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 path. 

   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 Honorary 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.

   Trees were planted in the orchard in stages over the years and the trees currently include 14 dessert apples and nine cooking varieties. There are also two named pippins and six unnamed


They're green apples for the moment but are ripening nicely

apple trees. These are from the fruit tree nursery that was  run by Tony and Elizabeth - Briarfields Orchards, at their home in Aston, Nantwich. Sadly, the business is no longer operating.

   If that is not enough, there are two pear trees and one damson tree.

   Since then Nantwich in Bloom - the committee behind the flower displays in town - have sourced many local Cheshire varieties of fruit trees.


   Students from Reaseheath College were involved in planting more trees in 2015.

   More pear trees and damson trees - including old Cheshire varities - will be planted in coming years.  


l Read the full feature on the commemoration ceremony here. Also, visit Nantwich Town Council's website for another article about the orchard.

A section of the orchard with trees varying in size according to when they were planted

An apple tree well on the way to ripening

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