Created by the community for the community

The CRT are delighted to announce we have created a Community Orchard in Barton Cambridgeshire.

£100 covers the planting, plaque, administration and 10 years of maintenance

Sponsor a tree

Your sponsorship will include: 

  • A personalised certificate
  • Your name or a short dedication on the label which identifies the tree
  • Your name or a short dedication on a notice board and map at the entrance of the orchard
  • Invitation to events based in the orchard


CRT Patron, Dame Judi Dench planting the first tree 27th Nov 2019

On 27th November 2019, Dame Judi Dench, patron of the Countryside Restoration Trust planted the first tree in a new community orchard on the CRT’s founding farm, Lark Rise in Cambridgeshire.  

When visiting Dame Judi Dench stated, “It’s a privilege to plant the first apple tree at the ceremony at Lark Rise Farm. The CRT has pioneered wildlife friendly farming and this orchard is another example of how they blend farming, wildlife and community benefit.” 

Wildlife

An integral part of the charity’s education and events programme, the orchard will offer a safe, secure environment for children to re-engage with nature, the seasons and food production. 
Little Owl
Little Owl
The Community Orchard will be open to the public all year round, providing a space for people to relax and enjoy the local wildlife.
 

Adding an orchard will add another element of diversity to the current farm; the blossom will support many bees and other pollinators early in the year before the main meadow flowers are available, the left over fruit will benefit many winter visitors such as fieldfares as well as late season insects. The Community Orchard habitat may encourage Little Owls which do not commonly breed at Lark Rise Farm.

As the trees mature, they will support other bird species such as Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch and Green Woodpecker. As it will be unsprayed there will be a lot of insects in the orchard.

Education and Community Engagement


Local schools took part in the planting events Nov 2019
The Community Orchard will become an integral part of our Education and Events programme, and it will be a valuable learning resource for schools and community groups.

The fenced orchard will provide a safe, secure environment for children to re-engage with nature, the seasons and food production.  Through the creation of our curriculum linked education programme, the orchard will be able to support learning over a wide range of curriculum areas from plant and wildlife studies to expressive arts, healthy eating and much more.

We will be able to do personalised tours for adult community groups or uniformed youth groups. We want people to be able to enjoy our magical space and will do all we can to facilitate visits. Events in the orchard will be vast and varied. We hope to have some large events based on blossom and harvest, linking in with other local Apple Day events, but we also hope to have smaller events where speakers come with a focus on fruits, wildlife, bats, traditional celebrations, mistletoe customs etc.

Types of Trees

An important element of our plans is to use local heritage varieties, so everything about our Community Orchard will be locally themed to Cambridgeshire and East Anglia. We have been working closely with the East of England Apples and Orchards Project to identify the types of trees which should be planted. For education purposes, we want a variety of different fruits. As well as being experts on local trees, they are also suppliers of apple, pear, plum and cherry trees from the East of England. As their trees will be locally produced, they will stand a better chance of survival, as they have come from similar climatic conditions.

The orchard tradition in much of our region, including Cambridgeshire, is to grow half-standard trees, or standards managed as half-standards. This is a policy which we will be following. We will also be planting the majority of our trees in a traditional way with approximately 5 metres between them, although a small area will be set aside for the newer trends of planting trees as close as 2.5 metres, between rows and 1 metre between trees. This again will help with education as the trees will be of different heights and will have different methods of harvesting.

The trees will be fruiting within 4 years, producing 22-45kg per tree when mature. The fruit will be used for our education programme, allowing us to do some cookery classes. We will also put a small market-style stall on the entrance to the field, allowing passers-by to purchase the fruit.

The CRT has two orchards in Herefordshire, one in Surrey, one in Dorset and one in Norfolk. On these farms the apples are harvested by volunteers and sold to local cider producers, with the money re-invested in the volunteer programme for equipment and training. We would explore this further after five-ten years when the trees are more mature.

Robin Page, chairman and founder of the CRT, is “pleased to see our plans for the orchard come to fruition. Education is fundamental to the CRT and through this orchard we can provide an educational, family-friendly space for generations to come.” 

The orchard in Barton, Cambridgeshire is always open to the public.

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If you need any further assistance or would like to sponsor over the phone call 01223 262999 or click here
Terms and condition

Many thanks to the People's Postcode Lottery who have supported this project!