This academic year we have launched the Diamond Anniversary Orchard project and planned the planting of an orchard of over 300 fruit and nut trees. This project was designed to celebrate that most undergraduates starting this year will graduate in 2025 which is the University’s 60th birthday and it is hoped that our students can watch the orchard grow and be part of its transformation from grassland to a complete and flourishing space.
Help us plant more trees
We managed to plant some trees last week in the snow (!) but need your help to plant more. Our next planting session is Wednesday 15 March between 10:00-13:00. You can come for as long or as little as you like. There will be a full briefing at the beginning of the session and newcomers throughout will be paired up with someone that has been trained.
Why an orchard?
The Southern Slopes provides an ideal setting for a semi-natural orchard and meadow that will not only be a beautiful space for students, staff and community members to enjoy, but also provides a complex habitat that will boost biodiversity in the area.
Step one is planting the fruiting trees, which once mature, will provide future students with fruit and nuts that they can harvest and enjoy. Later this year we will be seeding wildflower seeds to create an understory meadow that we will cut swathes through proving a peaceful space to walk through and enjoy.
Because this orchard will be a mosaic of trees, grasses, shrubs, wildflowers, and a pond, it will support a wide range of wildlife. As fruit trees age quickly, they create the perfect habitats for invertebrates and birds, such as the lesser spotted woodpecker and the rare noble chafer beetle.
This unique habitat will also feature key elements for our human community bring people and nature together. Accessible pathing so everyone can enjoy the space; seating with a view for meditation, rest or socialising; an outdoor teaching area; and a bird hide to spot nature from a quiet vantage point.
All the elements will be tied together with a central point that marks the six academic divisions that make up our learning community, celebrating all the students that will be our class of 2025 and beyond.