In 2020 Buckland Parish Council had the opportunity to buy some land at Lower Buckland to use as a community orchard and nature reserve to return lost biodiversity to the Parish. The funding came from developer contributions for development within the Parish which had taken place some years previously. The land is near Monks Court and adjacent to the bridlepath to Puttenham.
The Parish Council applied to the Local Planning Authority for consent for change of use of the field from agricultural to a community orchard and nature reserve. This was granted, but the planners insisted on the Parish Council producing a detailed landscape plan before work could start on the site in Autumn 2021.
The Copse area will consist of native broad-leaved trees from a list approved by planning officers. The types of trees have been chosen to support a wide variety of birds, mammals, butterflies, moths, insects, and other invertebrates.
It was hoped that the winter of 2022/2023 would allow further tree planting and the Parish Council offered residents the opportunity to ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’. Following the hot, dry summer of 2022, further planting has had to be postponed until the 2023/24 planting season while an irrigation system is installed. So far apple trees, boundary trees and some large ‘statement’ trees have been planted, as well as wildflower and grass seed sown.
With the irrigation now in place, a further 50 plum and pear trees were planted during November/December 2023. This completes the planting of fruit trees, the cost of which has come from grants.
With the help of further funding from the Gib Lane Community Fund, the Parish Council will be installing a disabled-friendly pedestrian access and benches. This will allow members of the public to enjoy the wildflower meadow when it is in bloom.
The Parish Council has received a generous donation from the Horticultural Society and plans to use this for further planting within the copse area during the next planting season.