THE hard-working team behind a well-known Inverclyde organisation have launched a bid to restore an area of Gourock Park which was originally used as an orchard more than 200 years ago. 

Inverclyde Shed wants to bring a stretch of the walled garden, where the glasshouse once stood, back to life by using it to grow fruit and veg. 

Bruce Newlands and the team at the Shed lodged a community asset transfer request with Inverclyde Council in October and are currently awaiting a decision on their request for a five-year lease. 

The plans earmark an area in front of the wall on the the extreme left-hand side of the park, round from the small animal enclosure. 

Proposals include 15 low raised beds which will be used to grow vegetables, and 30 small fruit trees which will be planted in whisky barrels. 

Greenock Telegraph:
Greenock Telegraph:
Shed secretary Bruce says the orchard and growing space would complement the work of the very successful Shore Street community garden in the town. 

He said: "There's no reason why this area of the park can't be used for growing fruit and veg. 

"There's a real historical element here and we want to bring something back into community use that's a big part of Gourock's heritage.

"It could become a 'show garden' for the area. 

"We won't be duplicating any of the work going on at Shore Street and it will all be about demonstrating how to grow things properly."

The walled garden appears as a large fruit tree orchard on the 1857-58 first edition Ordnance Survey map for the area.

By the third edition of the map in 1912, a glass house is visible against the north wall and the garden appears to have been cleared of trees. 

Bruce and the team at the Shed intend to submit a £10,000 funding bid to The National Lottery's Awards for All Fund if the request for a lease is approved by the council. 

Greenock Telegraph:
The local architect says creating an orchard again from scratch will be a fantastic educational tool for youngsters across Inverclyde. 

Bruce added: "It presents us with an amazing opportunity to create a sheltered growing space which is safe and accessible for school groups who want to come along and learn about fruit and veg and healthy eating.

"We have to make youngsters aware that veg can be tasty and cool and normalise it so that's part of their lives. 

"I've spoken to local schools and they're all very supportive of it."

Bruce said transforming just one small area of the popular Gourock open space will help breathe new life into the area. 

He added: "We're really excited about the idea of re-establishing a growing space in this historic space. 

"It will really reinvigorate the whole park."

Local volunteer Lorna McCartney said: "I hope we get a decision from the council in plenty of time to allow us to prepare for growing season. 

"It will be great for the community and will feed into a lot of different initiatives involving improving physical and mental health, alleviating poverty, and educating youngsters about the environment."