A community orchard is one where the fruit is available for free for anyone in the community. When we first decided we’d set one up in Buxton we thought in terms of a single location and spent a lot of time looking for a suitable site in the town, to no avail. Then we realised that a Dispersed Community Orchard was a far better idea. Not only are suitable small plots much easier to find, and we can keep expanding the orchard for ever as new sites become available, but a lot more people can benefit from having an orchard near by. Last but not least the responsibility for looking after the trees can more easily be spread around, with a small team of people taking care of each site.
We started planting in earnest in early 2011, and have added to the orchard every winter since then. We now have well over 50 trees in the town spread across ten sites. The majority are apple but we also have pear, cherry, greengage, plum and damson. We’re trialling different varieties to see which do best in the Buxton climate.
You can see where they all are on this map. Most of the trees have been sponsored by individual donations. Inevitably a few get damaged or die, but we do always replace them as soon as we can.
We’re always on the lookout for more sites, and we also welcome volunteers to join our orchard maintenance team. If you’d like to get involved, contact Pete.
And of course, if we are to keep on expanding the orchard, by planting more trees, we need more sponsors. It costs £20 to provide the tree, stake, tie, guard and a contribution towards ongoing maintenance, and we provide a gift certificate if you wish. You can download the sponsorship form here, or get in touch.