The town of Tayport, where I live, has a great community garden, which I’ve written about before. But in addition to the well-known growing beds and poly tunnel the founding members set up a community orchard, or fruit tree walk
as it is also known. This is situated on the way into the town, situated in marginal land that wasn’t being used for anything else, planted by volunteers and local residents back in 2013
. There are a great variety of fruit trees which after several years are becoming well-established and next to a kids play park there are wild strawberries, gooseberries and blackcurrant bushes.
I particularly love the soft fruit as the Tay valley has a great history of cultivating these crops and before the time of European imports there was a train that used to deliver strawberries picked fresh all the was to Convent Garden in London overnight. And as I haven’t got my own garden I am very grateful for this supply of pick your own fruit, right on my doorstep. On a sunny day it is lovely just to pause and pick a handful of berries to snack on, and I imagine prehistoric humans doing something similar as they explored, foraging and eating as they went. I find this connection to our ancestors fascinating and makes me think that in many ways, we have hardly changed despite developments in other areas. Although if I was to rely on this source for all my food intake I might struggle, the strawberries are a little small!
With continued fears about will happen with our increasingly chaotic climate, especially due to recent human ‘developments’, projects like this may only be a tiny step in the right direction. Although there are other added benefits such as the positive feelings we get from seeing these wild fruit ripening in the sun. I also suspect they are providing a good food source, not just for Tayport’s humans, but for local wildlife too helping, ever so slightly, slow the decline in biodiversity. Of course we need big action on a national and international level, but projects like this raise awareness and will hopefully encourage more local communities to try similar things. So if you are passing the fruit walk in Tayport why not stop to pick a some of this tasty, free fruit but you’ll have to be quick, as I suspect they won’t be there long!
Find out more about the fruit tree walk here: https://tayportgarden.org/fruit-tree-walk/
And watch the video from when the trees were planted back in 2013: