Regal new orchard to take root in Wilsford

Founding members of the Wilsford Community Orchard Group with Council Chairman Cllr Andrew Hagues
Founding members of the Wilsford Community Orchard Group with Council Chairman Cllr Andrew Hagues

Working in partnership with the community, North Kesteven District Council has secured £15,100 in funding for a new community orchard to be planted in Wilsford this autumn.

Supporting the newly-formed Wilsford Community Orchard group, the Council submitted an application on their behalf to the King’s Coronation Living Heritage Fund and recently found out that it was successful. The funding will enable a 75-tree orchard to be planted.

The Coronation Living Heritage Fund is designed to mark the coronation of King Charles III by creating new spaces for nature, in particular the planting of trees that can be accessed by the community. It is provided by DEFRA.

Jacky Scott-Combes, a retired psychotherapist from Wilsford, had always thought a community orchard would be a great addition to the village. When she saw the funding opportunity advertised in an NKDC newsletter she sprang into action.

Jacky said “I used to work at Rauceby Hospital and saw first-hand the value of the orchard that used to grow on the site. I’ve always remembered it and knew that a community orchard would be a brilliant asset for Wilsford. 

“When I saw in a Council newsletter that this funding was available, I contacted NKDC who helped us get the funding. We couldn’t have got it without them.

“I put the word out about what was happening and quickly had around a dozen people involved – but there’s always room for more! We’re offering adopt-a-tree or dedicate-a-tree, and working with the East of England Orchard Project to see if we can plant heritage varieties from the area.

“We’re hoping to plant apples – including cider apples – plus pears, plums, cherries and maybe even nut species.”

Henry Tickler, a local farmer who was happy to be roped in to the scheme, has granted permission for a field of his to be used for the project.

The group have great ambitions to further develop the project and create even stronger community connections as a result. Mrs Scott-Combes said: “Thanks to Mr Tickler, there’s plenty of land to do more than plant the orchard – we want to make it a real community space and could potentially even have a timber-framed building where we could hold events, have workshops and education opportunities, and even dementia and mental health-related activities.”

“I’m just delighted that it’s happening. You hold a vision, and then eventually it starts to come together. We’ve got the time and the willingness to make it happen.” 

NKDC Chairman Councillor Andrew Hagues, the ward Councillor for Leasingham, Cranwell and Wilsford, said: “I’m thrilled that the Council has been able to help this project come together in the way that it has. The possibilities are really exciting, and it’s just one example of how we want to help develop a ‘District of flourishing communities’.

“I take my hat off to Jacky and the team, and I think this is a great example for others to follow about what can be achieved when communities work together with the Council. It really is a village-led project, which I find inspiring, and I look forward to seeing how it develops in the coming months and years.”

Trees will be planted in the autumn, the time of year when it is best to do so, and more volunteers are invited to get in touch with the group and take part. There is also the opportunity to adopt or dedicate a tree, thus ensuring a lasting connection with the orchard.

For more information about how you can get involved please contact Jacky Scott-Combes at

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