Volunteers come together to help in Hackney parks

Two of Hackney Council’s parks have received a mini makeover thanks to the hard work of local volunteers.

London Fields now has a community orchard, packed with fruit trees that everyone will be able to enjoy, and a new meadow in Daubeney Fields, with both contributing to targets set out in the newly adopted Hackney Biodiversity Action Plan 2012-17.

Hackney Council worked with the London Fields User Group and 14 volunteers to plant a community orchard in London Fields on Thursday 22 March. On Saturday 24 March 25 volunteers (18 children and 7 adults) joined the Council for the meadow planting.

Traditional orchards are valuable for a range of wildlife, including insects and birds. And, they are considered so valuable for wildlife they have been listed as a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority habitat. The trees planted in the orchard are all traditional fruiting varieties that were historically found in London and the south east of England. The species include:

· Morello Cherry

· Newton Wonder – cooking apple

· May Duke Cherry

· Greengage (old gage)

· Merryweather (German Prune) - Damson

· James Grieve – apple

· Farleigh cluster - Damson

· Sweet Chestnut

· Kent Cob Nut

· Queen Cox – apple

· Cherokee Cherry

London Fields User Group received a £1,000 grant from Team London for enhancements in the park, which was used to pay for the trees, stakes and guards. The Council will also carry out further work including the creation of wildflower meadows, works to the woodland area, further shrub planting, and native bulb planting planned for the autumn.

Hackney Council is running the Daubeney Fields Goes Wild! project with ecoACTIVE and paying for the plants and tools. ecoACTIVE received a grant from Team London to run the activity sessions, including the meadow planting with local people. It is hoped the project encourages local communities to get more involved in their local park.

Councillor Jonathan McShane, Hackney Council s Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture took part in the planting. He said: “Hackney Council is committed to improving and enhancing its parks and green spaces through initiatives like the community orchard and meadow. I hope local people will get involved with harvesting the fruits in the future as this is great way for Hackney’s residents to connect with where their food comes from and get involved with the benefits of local growing.”

Mike Martin, Chair of the London Fields User Group said: “A great day was had by all - and the community orchard will really help the biodiversity of the park."

To find out more about Hackney’s parks and to get involved go to or, for information on the Hackney Biodiversity Action Plan 2012-17

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