Waitrose supports Community Orchard project along the Govilon Line

Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority have received a donation of £3000 from Waitrose, part of their Community Matters Scheme, funds which have been used to help our local communities with food shortages, mental health issues and tackling environmental changes.

The donation has been used to purchase a drone and apple trees in order to extend the community orchard the Authority is establishing along the Govilon Line, a former railway line, now a well-used easy access path that leads out of Abergavenny towards the Govilon area.

The drone which will be used for surveying peatlands prior to doing conservation works.  Peatland is a fragile and unique upland habitat and the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park team is actively involved in mapping and conserving this environment. The conservation of peatland is an important aspect of climate change mitigation because managed and conserved peat with flourishing mosses and wetland plants will sequestrate large volumes of carbon dioxide.

Heidi, a community champion for Waitrose said “Waitrose have chosen to donate this money to the National Park to help fight climate change and the drone will be a great purchase for the park. I’m also delighted that it will go towards the apple trees close to our branch in Govilon.”

Last month, wardens were joined by volunteers, members of the community along with help from the probation service to start planting the trees. A total of 20 trees were planted. In order to plant the trees, large areas of brambles have been removed, creating spaces where seats can be installed in the future, allowing the community to take a break and enjoy the views whilst using the Govilon Line.

As well as planting trees, wildflower plugs donated by the Bannau Brycheiniog Local Nature Partnership have been planted, helping to add to the habitat being created.

Sam Harpur, National Park Warden, said “The money from Waitrose is a big help to this project, extending the orchard and encouraging the community to get involved in looking after the Govilon Line. Other work along the line includes monolithing Ash trees with ash dieback disease. By monolithing the trees rather than taking them down completely, they can still serve as a habitat for wildlife. The Wildflowers are an extra bonus brightening up the area, and creating a diverse habitat for wildlife”