Save our apples!
Community orchards and Apple Days running across Britain in October, are fun ways to help save our native varieties
The area of Britain covered by orchards has declined drastically since the 1950s. To halt this trend, communities are uniting to save ancient orchards or plant new ones. Community orchards can be set up almost anywhere, urban and rural, on derelict sites, in schools and hospital grounds, on the edge of forests, as well as on allotments and open ground. Some orchards are open only to members who pay a small subscription in return for a share of the harvest, while others provide a welcome focal point and green space accessible to all. Orchards also offer havens for wildlife. There are now more than 700 community orchards across the UK, and many will be organising Apple Day events during October. If you’re interested in setting up a community orchard, there are organisations that can offer advice, practical help and ongoing support: THE ORCHARD NETWORK is a partnership of organisations, including the People’s Trust for Endangered Species ( PTES) and the National Trust, that offers lots of resources as well as a useful map, so you can find your nearest community orchard (see Chorleywood Community Orchard case study below). Visit bit.ly/community-orchards THE ORCHARD PROJECT works to create and restore community orchards across the UK. The website also has lots of practical guides. Visit: theorchardproject.org.uk HELPING BRITAIN BLOSSOM helps local groups to restore neglected orchards. Visit: helpingbritainblossom.org.uk