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Saughton Park plans for free fruit for community

Event Date: 01 Dec 2017

Residents of one of Scotland’s most densely populated residential areas are to benefit from three community orchards to be planted as part of the redevelopment of the historic Saughton Park in Southwest Edinburgh, beside one of city’s busiest roads.

The project is a partnership between the City of Edinburgh Council, Friends of Saughton Park1, and The Orchard Project2, a community orchard charity, funded in part by Broadway Park based, HEINEKEN UK3.

The orchards will produce free nutritious fresh fruit for residents, act as an educational resource and bring people from all backgrounds together to care for the orchards, providing physical and mental benefits as well as offering opportunities for residents to socialise with one another throughout the year.

Plans for the community orchards include 47 trained fruit trees along 110m of wall in the walled rose garden to be planted this winter, a wild orchard of fruit trees in the meadow beside the Water of Leith to be planted the following year and a further smaller group of fruit trees around the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society’s (The Caley) Demonstration Garden.

HEINEKEN UK is also contributing funds to the Friends of Saughton Park’s contemplative seating area beside the Water of Leith with its carved stonework by renowned Scottish artist Gardner Molloy4 depicting the waterside parks and gardens.  The new feature is intended to enthral park visitors who are expected to double to 920,000 per annum.

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “Once complete, the regeneration of Saughton Park will offer people from across the city a relaxing and inclusive haven, and the new orchards will be a welcome addition. Thanks to all those involved in bringing these improvements to the park.

“Residents from the surrounding community will gain from having access to free fruit and learning about growing and using fruit and vegetables thanks to the orchards, which benefit social cohesion, physical and mental health.  Once established I’m confident they’ll create a lifelong interest for people living nearby.”

Rona McDowall, secretary of Friends of Saughton Park said: “We want people to appreciate and use the park.  The orchards add another dimension providing interest throughout the year and of course free fruit. There will be educational boards teaching about wildlife and nature, what fruit trees there are and how to look after them. We want people of all ages and backgrounds to come along and get involved with underplanting, pruning, picking fruit and making things such as pies, juice and chutneys for the community. There’s lots we can do like wassailing and Apple Days.  We’re only really limited by our imagination.”

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