LAST Saturday parishioners from Widecombe-in-the-Moor gathered to plant a new community orchard.

The orchard was planted in ‘Jubilee Field’ named after the Platinum Jubilee as the project started in the same year.

The field was gifted to the parish in 1983 by Sir William Van Straubenzee, and last year a team began to investigate how to make better use of the land other than simply grazing it.

The Rev Geoffrey Fenton is the Team Vicar of the Ashburton & Moorland Mission Community, and a member of The Orchard Committee.

He said: ‘The orchard is being planted on parish land that was given 40 years ago ‘to confer as large a benefit as possible upon the Parish of Widecombe in the Moor’. We feel that this new community orchard will be of great benefit!’

The orchard will be used to hold various events throughout the year such as Wassailing, a blossom party in the spring, and a harvesting/pressing party in the autumn.

Pupils from Widecombe school helped plant the trees, and the parish hopes to involve the school with future projects in the orchard.

The project has been supported by Devon Wildlife Trust under their Protecting Devon’s Treescapes initiative, and the People’s Trust for Endangered Species, donating a total of 40 trees of traditional Devon apple varieties

Each tree has been sponsored by a member of the community raising £2,000 for the initiative.

Michael Brown has been leading the project.

He said: ‘We very much hope Jubilee Field will give years of pleasure: it is a beautiful ancient pasture in a lovely location. We hope it will not only be a welcome addition to village life but also be good for the environment and people’s general wellbeing.’