Work is now underway on the restoration of the two historic Orchards on Fairfield.
Both have been neglected for over 20 years and the work required is both specialist and requiring hand tool work.
It was common for mental asylums to have orchards, generally the asylum would be self-sufficient in many respects. Many of the trees are believed to up to 150 years old in the east Orchard while most in the west orchard will be about 100 years old.
Unfortunately, neither orchard was handed over by the developers to the community. Negotiations have been ongoing by the parish council to change this so that we all can enjoy this major asset. The council has reached agreement with the freeholders to carry out the work while negotiations are ongoing on the long term ownership.
In 2014 all the trees were number tagged so as to aid identification and that process is now in hand. About a third of the trees have been identified.
A group has been set up calling itself the Friends of the Fairfield Orchards and they are busily helping finish a five-year maintenance plan that will include maintenance of the grassed areas as well as the trees, a re-planting programme as well as the ecological side to help maintain and promote wild life.