Families in Littlemoor are being invited to adopt a fruit tree as a new community orchard project takes root.
The trees have been donated by WJ South West Ltd as part of a carbon off-setting measure within a contract with Dorset Highways.
A local partnership made up of Big4Littlemoor, Bincombe Valley Primary School and Westfield School will be working closely with Julie Hursthouse, community development worker for Dorset Councils Partnership, and officers from Dorset County Council in a bid to ensure the project is a success.
The community orchard will be planted at the eastern end of Littlemoor in an area known as the Wyke Oliver Pond, which is part of the Lorton Valley Nature Park.
Residents and families will be able to adopt and choose their own tree to plant and enjoy for the future.
Mrs Hursthouse said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local people to get involved in a project that has endless potentials; as family event days, sharing recipe ideas, information pages on websites, cooking blogs and working with the schools it is creating a lasting legacy for all.”
The area of land and large pond is owned by Dorset County Council and is being managed as a wildlife reserve to link the historic Ridgeway with the Lorton Valley.
Developer FH Cummings has installed a gate to ensure easy access for residents and walkers.
Dr Phil Sterling, coast and countryside service manager, said: “Throughout the design and construction of the Weymouth Relief Road, we have aimed to make a virtue of necessary engineering features such as ponds needed for collecting water off the road.
“This is a great opportunity for the community to help us shape the long term future of Wyke Oliver Pond as a publicly-accessible wildlife site on their doorstep.
“Orchards of apples, pears and plums support a wide range of birds and insects, almost as soon as they are planted.
“We will be sowing wildflower seed beneath the trees, and native scrub will be planted in the wider pond site, so the whole area becomes a haven for wildlife.”
Planting days will take place in the New Year, where all the trees, equipment and adoption labels will be available.
If you are interested in adopting a tree or being part of the community orchard project please contact Mrs Hursthouse on 01305 838497 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, call into Littlemoor Library