A FRUIT tree expert will be on hand with a healthy supply of tips at a workshop in Westerleigh this weekend.

Graham White, a local expert with specialist knowledge of South Gloucestershire’s unique tree varieties, will be on hand to answer questions and show visitors how to prune fruit trees at Wapley Bushes local nature reserve this Sunday, July 13 (10am-12noon).

The free event has been organised by Wapley Bushes Conservation Group, Dodington Parish Council and South Gloucestershire Council which are now all working together to preserve the traditional horticultural skills that are needed to maintain existing and newly-planted orchards.

John Morris, partnerships and delivery officer at South Gloucestershire Council, said teaching people such skills was essential in maintaining fruit tree orchards.

"Orchards and fruit trees are an important habitat for wildlife, especially for pollinating insects like bees,” he said.

“Our biodiversity action plan highlights traditional orchards as being in decline and we are looking at ways to help save them. Courses like these give local people a chance to learn new skills that will help conserve these important features for the future."

The free workshop is aimed at anyone who is keen to preserve soft fruit trees like plum trees or learn more about local tree varieties, like the Magnum Plum tree which can only be found in Winterbourne and Frampton Cotterell. This specific tree was used to make jam which supplied the large jam factories based in Bristol.

Anyone wishing to attend should meet at Wapley Rank cottages opposite the southern Besom Lane entrance to Wapley Bushes. There is no need to book, just turn up on the day.