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Apples, Apple Orchard

Park is apple of nation’s eye as Platt Fields community orchards named best in UK

  • Orchards in Platt Fields voted top in Britain
  • Volunteers needed to help look after 130-plus trees
  • Two free Lakeside Centre events this weekend to celebrate win

Platt Fields Park's community orchards in have been declared the best in the country and “an inspiring story of determination and innovation”.

Judges at  Helping Britain Blossom praised the efforts of The Friends of Platt Fields  to engage the local community.

The Friends group is run by volunteers who orgaise several projects within the community including helping to maintain and restore the orchards, alongside helping to educate local residents about how to sustainably harvest fruit from the park’s fruit trees.

The Rusholme park has three separate orchards – one with soft fruit, one with apples, and a Victorian orchard which is more than 100 years old.  As well as apple trees, the orchards produce rare and unusual fruit, including greengage, quince and medlar - a winter fruit which was commonly harvested as a Christmas treat in previous centuries.

The Friends of Platt Fields lead member, Alex Lewis, said: “There is a lot of work for us to do during the winter months, which is when we do the pruning, inspect the trees for pests and also put in measures to improve biodiversity, such as ‘bug hotels’ for insects.

“With more than 130 trees to look after, it’s a big job, so we’re very keen to recruit new volunteers to help.”

Anyone interested should contact the Friends at plattfields.org.

This weekend, the group are holding two free events at the Lakeside Centre to celebrate their award success:

Saturday 21 October, 11am-4pm: apple picking and juicing community day, giving residents of all ages the chance to learn more about making delicious cider and apple juice.

Sunday 22 October, 11am-3pm: The Friends of Platt Fields first ever Apple Day (11am - 3pm) - live cider-pressing, a scavenger hunt, a craft fair and produce market, bake sale, raffle, face painting and more.

Go to facebook.com/PlattFieldsVolunteering for more information on the events.

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