This project was a new phase of the successful ‘Fruitful Landscapes’ Project and aimed to support communities to increase their capacity to gain the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to enable them to create, maintain and use the orchard resource of the Inner Forth in the longer-term.
Over the summer of 2016 a workshop programme was developed and four workshops delivered, including Summer Pruning at Kennetpans, Care of Nut Trees at the Helix Nuttery (leading to a Nuttery Management Plan) and Fruit Crate-making, at Tullibody Community Garden.
Work was also begun to restore an historic plum orchard at Kennetpans, and the project was looking at the potential to establish a Friends of Kennetpans Orchard for the future. It was also supporting a range of existing groups with their orchards at Riverside, High Valleyfield, Polmont Woodlands Group, and Helix Nuttery.
A pruning workshop at Kennetpans, near Clackmannan in full swing
We held lots of events over the summer to encourage people to get involved with their local orchards, and to enjoy – literally – the fruits of their labours. More events happened over autumn/winter 2016-17. As well as being involved in the Big Roman Week, a festival which celebrates the Roman legacy and history of Bo'ness, the run up to Christmas 2016 saw a Family Craft Activity afternoon take place at Kinneil Museum, where a group led by artist Caroline Jones learned how to make Christmas decorations from natural materials from the nearby orchard and estate.
Pressing work at the Roman in the Orchard event at Kinneil House
The project was keen to engage local schoolchildren, and held a number of pupil workshops and teacher training events around the area, with hundreds of children and dozens of teachers participating.
The Fruitful Communities project came to a close in May 2017 with a series of public and school events and celerbations, held at various sites around the Inner Forth where FVO had worked over the course of the two projects. You can read more about the finale of the Fruitful Communities project on their facebook page, and a project report will be available shortly.
Families taking part in the May Blossom Week. Photo: Forth Valley Orchards
To find out more about the Forth Valley Orchards initiative you can visit the Forth Environment Link website at http://www.forthenvironmentlink.org/18-forth-valley-orchards