In days gone by, orchards were a common sight within the rural landscape along with fruit and nut trees that could be found in many a country and suburban garden. However, since around the 1960’s, large numbers of orchards have disappeared throughout the British Isles, resulting in the near loss of an important part of our cultural and environmental heritage. Recently, thanks to the enthusiasm and efforts of individuals, groups and charitable organisations such as Common Ground and Dorset Wildlife Trust, the ancient practice of fruit growing has been reborn in the form of the community orchard.
Community orchards are playing a significant role in helping to revive our fruit growing tradition, at the same time offering many other benefits. They not only provide open green spaces where people can come together to grow nutritious food, they can become havens for wildlife, places of beauty where folk of all ages can meet, learn new skills and have fun. In many cities, towns and villages across the UK groups of people are transforming their own local patches of land, from communal gardens and disused urban areas to old, neglected orchards, ripe for a new lease of life.In our own corner of Dorset several community orchards, each with its own unique identity, are now thriving. Broad Oak Community Orchard, for example, in countryside near Sturminster Newton supports a wide variety of local apple, pear and plum trees, with a boundary hedging that includes brambles, sloes and other edible fruits and nuts, whilst Bridport Community Orchard is sited near the centre of the town, has an outdoor classroom and is home to a gardening club.
So, how about a community orchard for Sherborne?
Always seeking new ways to encourage local, sustainable food initiatives which will benefit the community for years to come, Transition Sherborne have started a Community Orchard Group and are keen to work with local residents who are interested in setting up and running Sherborne’s first community orchard.
Interested in joining? Community orchards rely on members to help take care of and manage them. Do you have the time, enthusiasm or expertise to share? Please do contactus on the form below – we’ll be very pleased to hear from you.
- Community Orchard Update - 31 August 2012 - Jo
On 20 August the town council passed a resolution to approve the development by SCOG of a Community Orchard within the Quarr Nature Reserve. The Community Orchard Group is moving forward at last. After two consultation events with the residents surrounding the Lenthay Road site it became apparent that the site was not suitable. Local residents and children regularly use the field for sport and community activities.
- Community Orchard Follow-up Meeting - 25 January 2012 - Jo
Following the success of our Invitation to Start a Community Orchard Event last October, the Community Orchard Group would like to invite you to a follow-up Meeting on Monday 30th January, 6.30pm – 7.45pm at Sherborne Abbey Primary School, Lenthay Road, Sherborne. The meeting will provide an opportunity for local residents to further discuss the potential for creating a Community Orchard and how ideas might be taken forward.
- Time for a Community Orchard? - 10 October 2011 - Ross
Always seeking new ways to encourage local, sustainable food initiatives which may benefit the community for years to come, Transition Sherborne have started a Community Orchard Group and are keen to work with local residents who are interested in setting up and running Sherborne’s first community orchard. Whilst searching for a suitable location, we have recently discovered a green space next to the allotments, between South Avenue and Lenthay Close which could prove an ideal site. This area already has some native trees and bushes and could have lots of potential for growing a wide range of delicious edibles!
Contact: Jo Lowndes
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