The Cronkinson Orchard (Victorian Orchard) has been highlighted by the Parish Council as being a worthy project. A total sum of £5,000 was allocated in the budget to enable the ownership of the land to be established, through a title search, as a first step for a project seeking to reinstate the orchard for the benefit of the community.

Having identified that the land is still owned by Vistry Homes (formally Bovis) the Parish Council has written to Cheshire East Council to ascertain the status of the original s106 planning agreement, and the current stage of formal handover of the land from Visry Homes to Cheshire East Council.

In the Neighbourhood Plan, the orchard was described as “A traditional orchard with numerous species of domesticated apple is located on the Cronkinson estate”. How many residents know of this traditional orchard or have sampled the fruit?  It is about ½ acre in size (0.18 hectare) and is adjacent to the footpath running between Hawksey Drive and the Community Hall.

It contains just over 30 fruit trees, the majority of which are apple trees, as well as four pear trees and two damson trees. When it was surveyed in 2013 by local residents, samples of fruit were taken from each apple tree, where possible, and preliminary identification obtained. Of the 19 apple samples identified, the majority were cookers, including the cultivars Grenadier, Newton Wonder, Lane’s Prince Albert, and Arthur Turner. Fewer were identified as eating apples, such as Autumn Pearmain, Court Pendu Plat and Margil. Some were dual purpose apples so can be used for cooking or eating, and others such as Golden Pippin and Golden Spire can also be used to make cider.

Since 2013, the trees, most of which are very old, have continued to deteriorate; most contain dead, diseased and dying wood, and some have fallen over. Although this dead wood creates a rich habitat for insects and fungi, we will lose a historic aspect of the local landscape if remedial work on the orchard is not undertaken.

We will keep residents informed of progress.