Several years ago Franklyn Hospital in Exeter was grateful to receive support from Devon Wildlife Trust, who provided a number of young fruit trees to create a small orchard in the grounds of the hospital.
The trees - eating and cooking apples, pear, plum, cherry, quince - are now flourishing and provide a wonderful sanctuary for patients and staff, as well as wildlife.
Carrie Clarke, Occupational Therapist, said: "Devon Wildlife Trust have recently helped us out again, after a mature tree was cut down on the orchard's edge, creating a bit of an eyesore and destroying the natural feel of the space. As part of their 'Saving Devon's Treescapes' project, they have kindly provided us with twelve hazel and crabapple 'whips' (young trees) to help fill the gaps."
Liz Sanders, Occupational Therapy Assistant, with support from a volunteer, planted the trees, which as they grow will enhance the beautiful therapeutic space. The next step in the orchard's evolution is to create paths to enable everyone, whatever their abilities, to access and benefit from nature.
Victoria Shorters, Ward Manager said: "Nature has the ability to reduce stress and improve wellbeing for our patients, their families and staff. It can act as a tool for discussion and reminiscence about subjects such as gardening, nature, childhood memories and cooking. We hope this can improve physical health by providing a sense of occupation and provide a sense of belonging for patients. We are keen to use our outside spaces throughout the year and the addition of new fruit trees will allow the area to develop as well as producing a harvest in the years to come. We are very grateful for this kind donation."