Villagers are enjoying fruits of their labour

The meadow and orchard project at Foggathorpe has scooped two awards.
The meadow and orchard project at Foggathorpe has scooped two awards.

Residents of a parish in the Pocklington and district area have breathed new life into the community after their bold plot came to fruition.

Worried that a sense of community was disappearing along with facilities such as the school, post office and chapel, six residents of Foggathorpe, Harlthorpe, Gribthorpe and Laytham sprang into action.

They identified a neglected, two-acre plot of land in Foggathorpe and formed a committee to set about transforming it into a parish meadow and orchard.

Since 1946 the plot, which is owned by East Riding Council, had been rented by a local farmer. After approaching the council with its plans, the committee signed a 25-year lease on the land.

It has also received the full support of the Alden family, who had rented the plot from the council previously.

What followed was 12 months of hard graft to clear the site of fallen trees, brambles, weeds and litter. Since then, around 500 trees, including birch, cherry, pear and plum, have been planted, along with hedging. This was largely thanks to a grant from the Woodland Trust and donations from local residents.

Last summer, apples from the fruit trees were harvested for the first time and pressed at Yorkshire Wolds Apples in nearby Melbourne to make 87 bottles of juice, which was then sold to raise funds. Local residents are already gearing up to harvest this year’s crop.

In May, the East Riding of Yorkshire Council chairman, Cllr John Dennis presented the committee with two accolades – the Chairman’s Award for Community Groups and the Chairman’s Environment Award.

Committee member Sheila Stone said: “It wasn’t that long ago that Foggathorpe had lost everything – its school, church and post office – and there were very few new, young people moving to the village.

“Since this project has been up and running, it is starting to feel very much alive again; it’s a place people really do want to be.”

Parishioners meet at the meadow on Saturday mornings between 10am and noon.