17th Jan 05
Fruitful Recreation
First fruit tree planted in orchardHow a volunteer group recreated a piece of Tongham History

Seventeen volunteers in Tongham, Surrey gave up their Saturday last week, 15th January, to plant 50 fruit trees to recreate an orchard that once grew where a housing estate now stands. Organised by the local voluntary organisation TWIG (Tongham Wood Improvement Group), the project forms part of a long-term plan to regenerate Tongham Community Wood, which was once used for fly-tipping and had become overgrown and neglected.

Included in the 50 trees are varieties of apple carefully selected to match the road names in the surrounding housing estate, including ‘Blenheim Orange’, ‘Rosemary Russet’ and ‘Ellison’s Orange’. As well as the apple trees, pear, cherry, plum and damson trees were also planted.

Tongham Community Wood is a valuable resource to the local community providing an area for leisure and recreation, as well as attracting all sorts of wildlife. The remains of the old orchard already attract visitors – both wild and human, young and old – who come and collect the fruit of apples and plums, elderberries and blackberries in Autumn, and admire the attractive Spring blossom. It is hoped that the orchard will provide a future focal point and further open up the wood as a local amenity area.

Funding of £1,714 for the orchard has been awarded by the Hanson Environment Fund. This has been match funded by Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership, which promotes community action in conservation and recreation and protects the Blackwater Valley for the enjoyment and well being of the whole community.


• The photographs depict the planting of the first tree.
• Suggested caption for 3 person photo: “(L-R) Sheena Chadbond, Christine Purser and Elizabeth Chan plant the first tree”
Suggested caption for 2 person photo: “(L-R) Christine Purser and Elizabeth Chan plant the first tree”
• Photos should be credited to Jane McCarty
• Tongham Wood Improvement Group (TWIG) was formed in July 2004 and is a local voluntary group set up to promote and manage Tongham Community Wood. Working under the guidance of the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership, TWIG has gradually been improving the area for the enjoyment and well being of the whole community, and also to protect the area from further development for the benefit of the local community.
• Tongham Community Wood is semi-natural woodland, with old oak stands and coppice stools, and is ideal for dog walkers and children.
• The Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership (BVCP) is funded by the County, District and Parish Councils along the River Blackwater. It works to promote community action in conservation and recreation and to protect the Valley for the enjoyment and well being of the whole community. For more information about BVCP visit www.blackwater-valley.org.uk
• Grants made from the Hanson Environment Fund currently amount to £15,675,335.
Hanson set up its environment fund in 1997 using the landfill tax money accumulated by the building materials company. Hanson is the world's largest producer of aggregates - crushed rock, sand and gravel - and the third largest producer of ready-mixed concrete. Its other principal products are precast concrete, clay bricks and concrete roof tiles. Hanson has operations in North America, UK, Australia, Continental Europe and Asia Pacific and employs over 28,000 people in 15 countries.
The Hanson Environment Fund is managed by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts (RSWT). RSWT is a registered charity, incorporated by Royal Charter, to promote conservation and manage environmental programmes throughout the whole of the UK. It has established management systems for holding and distributing funds to projects that meet Landfill Tax regulations.

For further details please contact RSWT on 0870 036 1000 or visit www.hansonenvfund.org

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