A NEW podcast supported by Stalybridge Town of Culture funding has launched to explore local fruit trees and their roots in the area's food heritage.
The show, which has been produced by Tameside-based community food organisation Operation Farm supported by Tameside Council's Cultural Services and Greenspace teams, follows a specially designed walking route from Stalybridge town centre through the lost kitchen garden of the now ruined Gorse Hall and on to another more recently planted orchard.
It includes a downloadable route map enabling members of the public to get out and experience these fantastic local places for themselves.
It is one of 25 projects supported by community grants awarded by the council to celebrate Stalybridge's GM Town of Culture status and support opportunities for the community to get involved in local culture and heritage.
Cllr Sangita Patel, Tameside Council's Executive Member for Culture, Heritage and Digital Inclusivity said: "The podcast is a fun and creative way of encouraging people to get out in nature and explore their local environment and heritage. I'm so pleased we have been able to work with the local community on this and other projects to bring opportunities for people to learn about and enjoy Stalybridge's rich cultural heritage."
Podcast host Anna Seward speaks to local fruit tree enthusiasts and experts on the show, uncovering some of the 'Lost Trees' in Stalybridge from which the podcast takes its title. Local contributors featured include orchardist and cider-maker Rob Muir, local volunteer Alan Pickles of the Friends of Gorse Hall and Sam Bolton of the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit.
Anna Seward said: "I wanted to try and communicate the sense of place to the audience, to offer an idea of where these trees are and recording the walk seemed a good way to do this. The sounds of climbing through the undergrowth of an old orchard gives a real feeling about what it's actually like there and encourages others to get out and experience it for themselves. It was really fun to make this and speak to people who have so much knowledge and enthusiasm to share, be that about history, ecology or cider making!"
The podcast is available at www.anchor.fm/operation-farm or listen on https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLBNPv2x_-z0e3aPLkHfcQpoOcQBlHMcZj.
The podcast is part of a wider project to map and explore Stalybridge's fruit trees and local listeners are invited to add local fruit trees they know to an online map on the Operation Farm website.
Operation Farm is a food and wellbeing organisation and orchards and green spaces have long been highlighted for their role in enabling people of all ages to connect with nature and improve wellbeing. But the show also highlights how many of our historic natural assets have been lost or forgotten with the group hoping to raise awareness and for people to spot forgotten orchards and fruit trees in areas where they live.
The project was supported by The Bridge and Stalybridge Heritage Action Zone Cultural Consortium and funded by Historic England. The podcast was put together with the help of lots of people and features a beguiling opening theme composed by musician Claire Knox of the band Shield Patterns with sound production from radio and podcast producer Simon Galloway.
Pictured Cllr Patel (centre) with Anna Seward and Rob Muir