MUSSELBURGH now has its own community orchard, thanks to the local area partnership.

A collection of 21 Scottish heritage apple saplings, some of the same varieties which were grown in an orchard at Pinkie House more than 250 years ago, have been planted in Lewisvale Park by Sustaining Musselburgh, a sub group of Musselburgh Area Partnership.

Gaynor Allen, Sustaining Musselburgh chairperson, said: “Planting trees is a great way of investing in the future, it is good for the planet and good for the community.”

She added: “Planting apple trees will hopefully prove to have many more benefits, as it will provide free fruit, and we hope to engage with the whole community in an annual apple day once the trees are big enough to bear fruit.

“We are very excited about this project and hope that schools and community groups will get involved.”

Musselburgh Area Partnership voted unanimously to support the project and hopes it will attract more people to Lewisvale Park.

The partnership paid for 18 of the trees, which were planted by Andrew Hogarth, East Lothian Council’s area amenities officer, and Tony Brunton, from the council’s Musselburgh amenities team.

Three of the trees in the orchard were donated by Art Walk Porty’s Neighbouring Orchard project, which gave out 121 trees for planting throughout Portobello, Musselburgh and Craigmillar.

Iain Clark, Musselburgh Area Partnership chairman, said: “Musselburgh Area Partnership is keen to support sustainability projects within our community.

“With our new sustainability sub group and in partnership with our local amenity services, the planting of a new community orchard in Lewisvale Park will hopefully provide local focus on sustainable sources and provide the community with hopefully one of many natural resources.”

Over future years, Sustaining Musselburgh intends to add more fruit trees in the park and include pear, plum, hazelnut and walnut.

Gaynor said: “We thought we would be lucky to begin with 10 trees, so we are delighted to have so many.

“We intend to add more trees over the next few years.

“This is a lovely project and we are delighted we were able to make it happen in the first year of Sustaining Musselburgh coming together.

“It is fantastic to be a sub group of the area partnership and to work in partnership with other groups and organisations including Queen Margaret University.”

Sustaining Musselburgh is also working to get plastic free status for the town by encouraging organisations and people to get rid of single-use plastic, working with Musselburgh Active Toun, and working to bring a sustainability hub to the town.