A “major” community orchard could be created at Sandown lands on the west side of Nairn.
The Nairn Apple Network, which is creating orchards in the community, is eyeing up the Sandown area for expanding its project.
The stretch owned by the Nairn common good fund sits on both sides of the A96.
Coordinator Des Scholes from the apple network says his crew can turn up and plant a big orchard in a couple of hours at no cost to the common good fund.
‘Food for common good from the common good’
It comes as Highland Council is set to question residents on what they think should happen at Sandown.
The local authority is spending £18,000 from the Nairn Common Good Fund to find out if a community food hub could be feasible on the land previously looked at for housing development.
Des, a landscape gardener, blogger and Gaelic tutor, hopes the council’s study will reflect a strong need for community growing at Sandown, paving the way for him and his crew to get in first and start planting apple trees soon after the questionnaire closes.
Des adds: “Trees could be provided at no cost, and a large orchard would easily dovetail with anything else that might happen at Sandown.
“We’d provide an orchard that’d be open to local people to harvest — food for the common good from the common good — not a commercial activity.”
He believes there’s potential at Sandown “for quite a major orchard there, which will give the opportunity for more people to learn orchard maintenance and other skills”.
‘Sandown orchard could grow our successes’
The Nairn Apple Network launched its first community orchard on Cemetery Brae in March.
It also runs an orchard and a nursery at the allotments at Sandown Farm Lane and is responsible for planting trees elsewhere, including at Nairn Academy and Viewfield.
But a community orchard is lacking at the west side of town, says Des.
And he thinks Sandown would fit the bill.