The Wild Wellington Project starts here as our Coronation Orchard gets the green light

We’re pleased to announce that our application to Telford & Wrekin Council’s Coronation Fund was successful, which means that Wellington will be getting a new community orchard later this year.

The town council will be hosting a mini-brass band concert on the morning of the Coronation itself, and I’m sure some of Wellington’s streets will arrange their own street parties, but we wanted to do something that would mark this moment in more lasting way and provide a real legacy for residents.

The £1000 we have secured from the borough council’s fund will be matched by £1000 from the town regeneration partnership, enabling us to buy about 20 fruit trees along with the stakes, support straps and root-grow that we’ll need to plant them. We should also have some left over for signage. The idea is that we plant most if not of these in an area behind All Saints Church (the King Street side). Their blossom and fruit will give everyone walking through the churchyard a spectacle to enjoy, and they’ll also provide food and habitat for wildlife.

Alongside the orchard project, we are talking to Telford and Wrekin Council about converting parts of the lawned area behind the church into meadow, with colourful wildflowers that again provide food and habitat for wildlife whilst also cheering up passers-by.

We’re grateful to All Saints Church for supporting this project – we’ll be seeking help from their congregation, as well as other faith and community groups, when it comes to digging and planting in the Autumn. We were keen on this location because it’s so central and so visible – it’s the only substantial green space in the centre of the town – but it’s appropriate for another reason, too. The churchyard was entirely remodelled to mark the late Queen’s coronation in 1953, the headstones removed to the perimeter walls and the ground landscaped as lawn and rose beds. Now, 70 years later, this project to partly rewild the area behind the church will reflect something of our own times and the recognition that we must plant trees and make space for nature all around us – especially in our grey, tarmacked towns.

And we don’t want to stop with one orchard, either. Maybe we could extend the project into wards around Wellington and create a whole Wild Wellington Network – clusters of fruit trees and meadowland right across the town that help us go that bit further in fighting climate change and the biodiversity crisis, and which future generations of Wellingtonians can enjoy for decades to come. The map shows some initial ideas about where this planting could take place, but we’ll need to hear what councillors and residents think. Would these be good locations? Are there other sites we haven’t thought of?

So – watch this space for updates and let us know if you’d like to be involved.