Fruit Routes Loughborough

A person standing next to a young tree, looking into the distance.
one hundred trees
how small this blister
on my thumb

Paul Conneally – Fruit Routes poet

A fantastic weekend of digging, laughing, muddy boots and warming soup. The trees were successfully planted by bands of volunteers ranging from age 4 upwards: members of the local community, some of whose houses back on to the uni, others from across town; students; postgrads and artists who don’t mind getting mucky. All in all we got the 76 trees, 25 fruit bushes and 285 hedgerow whips in the ground. Each planter was given a pack including a limited edition screenprint of a bare root tree, and a slice of rowan tree.

photo Bob Levene
The first tree planted at the School of the Arts
Saturday planters
Learning from the master
photo Paul Cannily

At 3pm on Sunday we officially celebrated the trees and welcomed them to the campus with a walk around the route and a series of poetry, music and dance performances.

This included live trumpet,  a morris dance called ‘twig’ which relates the story of planting and digging trees and a poem created from words and fragments gleaned during Saturday’s planting.

photo Bob Levene

As we ended our journey with the setting sun, the trees were blessed and the elements honoured with a healthy sprinkling of a local cider. The merry band then proceeded to the LOS Garden and Shed to a roaring fire and barbecue, cider, fruit wine and apple juice.

photo Bob Levene

photo Bob Levene

The  trees we planted include: quince, mulberry, pear, apple, plum, damson, walnut, hazelnut, almond, peach, apricot, fig, crab apple, rowan, dog and wild rose, hawthorn, blackthorn, cherry, greengage. Many of the trees were sourced from local nursery Cool Temperate which is committed to organic growing and permaculture.

A map will be available soon on the blog and to download which gives the locations of the trees and their variety and cropping times.

PDFs available on the links below:
Being a Fruit Route friend
Fruit Routes Poem

I was also invited to give a talk at the School of the Arts to introduce the project to staff, students and anyone else interested. The first Fruit Routes tree was then planted in the garden at the School of the Arts (outside Gillian’s window!)

Next event: Spring Wild Food on May  along the Fruit Route 16+17 May. To compliment our autumn walk  and map (see post Nov 2, 2011 ) we’ll look for what is growing and what we can harvest in spring along the Route.

The Fruit Routes project is a sister project to The Loughborough Students Landscaping and Gardening Society, a group of students, staff and local people that have been working and meeting together since October 2010 with the aim to make the campus a more sustainable, edible and beautiful space.  Since its initiation, the group has successfully transformed a piece of unproductive land on the campus into a thriving communal garden. The group welcomes participation from all. Please contact, Pawas Bisht at

Big thank you to performers and artists Miriam Keye, Paul Conneally,  Jo Salter, David Blayze, Ways of the Wyrd Border Morris, Bob Levene, Stephen Watts, Gillian Whiteley and the Landscaping Our Society team,  the tireless LU staff Karen, Mark and Amy and student volunteer Laura Senior.

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