Volunteers harvest pick of apple crop in Devizes

This Is Wiltshire: Nicol adds some more apples to the growing piles of fruit Nicol adds some more apples to the growing piles of fruit

Volunteers dedicated to the core helped to pick more than four tonnes of apples at the orchard that now forms part of the Drews Pond Wood Project.

Some 25 people turned up to help harvest the crop at the orchard on the grounds of the former Roundway Hospital in Devizes to raise funds for the project, which maintains the woodland as an amenity for the town.

Project leader Stuart Hislop said he and his colleagues were pleased with the response to the article in last week’s Gazette.

He said: “The weekend had a nice community feel to it and we are so grateful to everyone who turned up. We picked about four tonnes of apples, which sounds impressive but the hospital used to pick 20 tonnes.

“The orchard has not been managed for 20 years so all the apples are up at the top, so there was a lot of tree shaking going on. We hope it will be easier and better next year.

“We have come full circle, having bought the land, pruned the trees and picked the harvest. We had a number of volunteers turn up who want to get involved in Drews Pond Wood but it would be nice if we can have some who will dedicate themselves to maintaining the orchard.”

The apples were collected by Paul Langham of A Becketts Farm in Littleton Panell, who took them back to his apple press.

Members of the Drews Pond group will have a proportion of the juice returned to them bottled and they are negotiating to have them sold at an outlet in the town.

Anyone who would like to get involved in the project can call Mr Hislop on 07853 299074.

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