Project launch


Apple Varieties

Growing Orchard Communities old


We are very pleased to be working with Orchard Link on a new community orchards project and have been successful in securing Heritage Lottery, public and private sector funding.

The project will run from November 2015 until June 2017 and there are many exciting activities, training, networking and skill sharing opportunities planned.


Over 20 community orchard groups are taking part in the project. They are spread from the edge of Plymouth right over through Torbay and from the coast up to the edge of Dartmoor. There is a great range of sites and groups, which means that there will be plenty of expertise and shared experience to draw upon and learn from.

The project will be managed by a steering group made up of members of the Orchard Link committee, supported by the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team.

Project launch at Sharpham

The project

This project will run from the launch in November 2015 to the final celebration event in June 2017. The main period of engagement for community orchard groups will be Jan 2016 – March 2017. This is when the workshop programmes will take place.

During this project we will be:

  • Engaging local communities and equipping them with the skills and expertise to manage their orchard sites as thriving community resources. This will be through a programme of workshops, training and skills sharing sessions about managing orchard sites.
  • Working with the groups to help them become robust and sustainable community groups, helping them to run events, recruit and work with volunteers, manage themselves and search for extra funding when needed. This will also be carried out through workshops, training and skill share sessions.
  • Creating a community orchard network, which will be a forum for sharing skills, experience and expertise. This will provide support for the groups and a chance to meet others working in the same way.
  • Produce a community orchards website as a resource hub for community orchard groups.

These elements will be funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund grant

There will also be a programme of site works delivered on the ground:

  • site appraisals with an expert.
  • production of site action plans.
  • small grants for site works – planting, tree protection, site signage and facilities – this will be informed by the site action plan and carried out by volunteers in the community groups.

These elements will be funded in part by the private sector funding. Some of this is tied to specific project areas as it is through Devon County Council Locality grants and the Langage Landscape Fund.

Planting an orchard

The activity

There will be programmes of workshops, skills share events, activities and networking days through the project for community orchard groups to attend. The workshops are broken up into three programmes:

  • Site Development Programme
    Training and skillshare programme relating to the physical management of orchards
  • Group Development Programme
    Training and skillshare relating to managing and developing community orchard groups
  • Digital Workshops
    Series of half-day workshops using digital media to share and create digital archives

There will also be practical support and expert advice to check and improve the health of the community orchards as well as seasonal celebration network events.

Getting involved

If you are a member of a community orchard or help to look after an orchard site in your parish, and would like to find out more about how you could get involved, please contact [email protected] or 01803 861183.

Subscribe to our e-newsletter to receive regular updates about the project.

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About Orchard Link

Orchard Link was established in 1998 by a group of Orchard campaigners and enthusiasts in response to the declining condition and number of traditional orchards, the loss of local apple varieties, the wastage of apple crops from small traditional orchards and the needs of orchard owners for help and support.

Orchard Link aims to support orchard owners and enthusiasts in South Devon, to ensure that orchards continue to be a sustainable and distinctive element of our landscape. It is inclusive and open to anyone to join at a very low cost membership.

They offer their members:

  • Training opportunities on site management issues.
  • Advice on restoring old orchards - or planting new ones - with an emphasis on the use of local apple varieties.
  • Access to a network of experts - including horticulturalists, cider makers, nurseries and conservationists.
  • Opportunities to visit other members' orchards and exchange knowledge and ideas, to use and enjoy their orchards and apples.
  • The chance to buy or sell surplus apples.
  • Juicing and bottling equipment hire.
  • Events, open meetings and newsletter.