Farington folk reaping fruits of their labours

Mike Otter and Joan Langford with the victorian apple at the Mill Street Gardens, Farington
Mike Otter and Joan Langford with the victorian apple at the Mill Street Gardens, Farington

Money may not grow on trees but apples certainly do, and people in Farington have been making the most of a special food-growing initiative this summer.

As part of the Mill Street Garden project, which was launched in 2012 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the start of the Lancashire cotton famine, three heritage apple trees were planted at the site.

The fruits are the same as those found in the area more than a century ago, when many people worked in the Farington Cotton Mill, and members of the community who helped create the garden have told how they’ve been particularly popular this year.

Councillor for the village, Mike Otter, said: “The trees were specially selected because they’re the same as the apples they had in the 1800s, they’re a Victorian variety of apples.

“People have been helping themselves to

the fruit, which is great.

“This is exactly what we wanted, and it seems it’s been a real success this summer because I’ve noticed a lot of the apples have gone now.

“There’s also a strawberry bush which people are welcome to take strawberries from.”

Farington historian Joan Langford added: “There’s a place in Yorkshire which specialises in heritage trees and fruit bushes, so we got them from there.

“In the community garden, we have eating apples, cooking apples, and dual purpose apples, which can be used for either eating or cooking.

“Apple and pear trees can go on for 200 years, they’re very long-lived.

“It seemed fitting for us to plant these at Mill Street Garden, and I’m glad they’ve been put to good use for the


The garden has also been nominated for a ‘Best Practice’ award by the Lancashire Environment Fund, which ploughed money into the project.

“Two years after it opened, they came back recently to judge it,” Joan said. “It was a lovely sunny day and it was looking particularly good, so we were pleased about that.

“We don’t know who we’re up against, but just to be recognised for looking after the garden is a good thing.”