Following the successful creation of the garden at Hirst Lock, Hirst Wood Regeneration Group turned their attention to a plot of waste ground, surrounded by houses and reached by a footpath between 13 and 15 Hirst Wood Road. It was a scruffy, weed-ridden plot, far too often used as a dumping ground but HWRG decided to turn it into a wild-flower orchard which will grow into a pleasing community space for local people - with free fruit thrown in. We received a generous grant from Northern Gas Networks and contributions from Jubilee Funds. We were helped by Incommunities, Bradford Council Parks & Leisure department and Shipley Area Committee, plus a great deal of hard work from group members and local residents. And before long, the orchard had apple, pear, cherry, plum, peach and apricot trees along with two kilos of wild flower seeds and 200 flowering hedge plants. Named the Jubilee Blossom Orchard, in honour of the Queen’s 2012 jubilee and opened by Cllr Dale Smith, Lord Mayor of Bradford, the project has brought HWRG their second Green Award from Northern Gas Networks. Shipley Green Party councillor, Martin Love, said: “The creation of this wonderful community space from a piece of long-neglected waste ground shows the value having a hard-working group of dedicated local residents in an area. “The Hirst Wood Regeneration Group have made a massive difference to their community during my time as a councillor. They have been instrumental in the success of projects to deliver the children’s play area and the multi-use games area on the recreation ground as well as improving the area around Hirst Lock and now this community orchard. All this in addition to regular community clean-ups and other day-to-day good work.” Northern Gas Networks, the region’s gas distribution company, contributed £3,000 to help the orchard project take root. The money came via the company’s Northern Green Networks community programme which supports green-themed neighbourhood projects. Susan Wareham from Northern Gas Networks said: “This is an outstanding project and one we are delighted to support. We have been very impressed with the determination, hard work and true grit that have gone into making this an area that can be enjoyed by the whole community. “Our engineers have a regular presence in the area so we try to support local projects where we can. It is fantastic to see our contribution going towards an inspired project.”
Scruffy waste patch transformed into wild-flower orchard
Above: first fruit. The summer of 2015 saw the first plums in the orchard - we managed to photograph these which were just out of reach of small people on tiptoe who had eaten the rest! Right: Susan Wareham of Northern Gas Networks presents their Green Award to Pauline Bradley-Sharp, secretary of HWRG
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