New community orchard to be planted on ancient monument site in Central Milton Keynes

Fruit trees including apple, pear, plum and cherry will be planted on the site

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 1:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th November 2021, 2:00 pm

The ancient monument known as Secklow Mound is to be the site of a new community orchard.

Apple, pear plum and cherry trees will be planted on the historic mound, which dates back to Anglo Saxon times and is sited behind the CMK library.

The move is part of an Milton Keynes Council initiative to plant 500 trees, in addition to the city's existing 22 million trees, to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee next year.

Secklow Mound

Around 400 of the trees will be dotted around the borough in partnership with parish councils to make sure they are "positioned to best effect", says the council. These will encourage more wildlife in these areas.

Another 80 specimens will be 'London Plains' trees to maintain MK's urban boulevards. And twenty fruit trees will be planted on Secklow Mound, which was once an important meeting point for Anglo Saxon elders.

They would meet there to organise land and discuss other legal matters. Shires were then divided into 'Hundreds' for the purpose of making laws and keeping peace - and the Secklow Mound is close to the point where three parishes met.

The mound is designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, which means it is a nationally important archaeological site. Before Milton Keynes was built, the mound was lost from local memory and it was rediscovered in1978 by Milton Keynes Archaeological Unit.

500 new trees will be planted in MK

The area was excavated to reveal the shape of the mound and fragments of medieval pottery were found there.

The new community orchard will be open to the public to pick fruit and will become "a place of calm and natural beauty" for local people, says the council.

The Queen’s Green Canopy initiative asks people around the UK to ‘plant a tree for the Jubilee’ to create a living, green legacy.

Dozens of trees have already been temporarily planted at Station Square as part of The Modernist Glade public art project, alongside The Mushroom Pavilion - home to a free programme of workshops and family activities.

The council will also be replacing some trees in poor health on Central MK’s boulevards.

A spokesman said: "Trees benefit the environment enormously, producing oxygen, improving air quality, and creating habitats for wildlife. Studies have also shown being around trees can lower a person’s blood pressure and decrease stress levels."

Cllr Lauren Townsend, Cabinet member for the Public Realm said “We know local people love and value MK’s trees and green spaces, and we’re delighted to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee by planting 500 trees in Milton Keynes. It’s also part of our vital work to plant trees as both a symbolic and practical step towards tackling climate change for future generations.”