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South Wales communities nurture greener future by planting more than 2,500 trees

School children and volunteers have created two community orchards and five school hedgerows across South Wales, with help from National Grid Electricity Distribution in collaboration with Groundwork Wales.

Pupils from Rhigos Primary School, in Rhigos, near Aberdare, have helped to create a community orchard by planting 15 heritage fruit trees, including apple, pear, and cherry varieties, at Rhigos Rugby Club.

The orchard will serve as a gathering space for community members to harvest and press apples, with easy access for maintenance, grass cutting, and fruit harvesting.

School children from Ysgol Rhyd y Grug, in Aberfan, Merthyr Tydfil, have transformed Parc Aberfan into a flourishing green space with the addition of seven heritage apple and pear trees.

Nearly 600 children from across South Wales worked with volunteers from nearby National Grid offices to plant the five school hedgerows.

In total, they planted 2,500 trees spanning 500 metres in length, in strategically chosen locations to support pollinators, create wildlife corridors, and enhance biodiversity.

Ellie Patey, Community Engagement Manager at National Grid, said: "The children’s commitment to environmental stewardship and creating sustainable spaces is truly inspiring. “The tree planting project supports National Grid’s low carbon, biodiversity and community aims across South Wales, empowering the communities we serve to nurture a greener future.”

Other schools involved in the hedgerow planting were: 

  • Maes Y Bryn Primary – Church Village, Rhondda Cynon Taff
  • Ysgol Y Bannau – Brecon, Powys
  •  Brackla Primary – Brackla, Bridgend
  • Gwyrosydd Primary – Tre-Boeth, Swansea

The orchards and hedgerows contribute to increased air quality, pollinator habitats, and reduced surface water runoff, mitigating the risk of flooding. Each tree will capture about 21kg of carbon per year, making a substantial contribution to carbon reduction efforts.

The orchards will provide a sustainable source of fresh fruit for the community, and serve as a space for physical exercise, wellbeing, and community engagement.

The fruit trees are rare Welsh species specifically reintroduced throughout the country. Their resilience to local diseases, cultivated in the same climate, ensures their long-term success in Wales. By planting two to four-year-old trees, the project organisers have accelerated the fruiting process, with some trees expected to yield their first crop as early as this autumn. The older trees also require less protection from grazing animals.

Groundwork Wales is an environmental charity that aims to create sustainable communities by working with partners to improve the quality of the local environment, promote economic prosperity, and enhance social well-being.