Berry Hill Community Orchard

The award winning community orchard at Berry Hill has been a fantastic project to work on. Set up by a local group of enthusiastic community members, it is just over an acre clearing of forestry commission land that was just scrub, bracken and brambles and has been transformed into an exciting permaculture orchard. The design was done with Scott who shared his knowledge of forest garden principles and facilitated the group to come up with a design. They chose to have clusters of heritage trees throughout the site with fruit bushes and ground cover plants around the clusters. More productive variety trees are situated around the perimeter of the site which has now been deer fenced with gates put in to protect the young trees and bushes from being nibbled.

With Scott’s advise and help they have planted 15 rare heritage variety fruit trees with great names like ‘Broxwood foxwhelp’, ‘Hendry Huffcap’ and ‘Shit Smock’. There is also a great number of more common but productive fruit trees including apple, pear, plum and cherry and also over forty soft fruit bushes and nitrogen fixing shrubs. In addition there is a ground cover of mint and comfrey as well as flower beds for pollinators and benches.

We are especially excited about this project as it is a fine example of a permaculture orchard with a diverse mix of fruit trees, fruit bushes, herbs and edible flowers, shrubs for fixing nitrogen and mineral accumulating plants like comfrey to feed the trees. See the photos below for the design / illustration that Nichola has created, mapping all of the trees and shrubs and celebrating all those involved. It can be viewed at the entrance to the orchard as an information board.

There has been so much support from local community residents and even the local college students came and got stuck in. Click this link for the community orchard Facebook page with more info and updates: https://www.facebook.com/berryhillorchard/. See below for photos of the heritage varieties and of all the hard work!

And it WON AN AWARD! The award given by the ‘Campaign to protect rural england, Gloucestershire’ was awarded for ‘a project at the heart of the community, devised and implemented by volunteers of all ages and abilities, which recognises historical context, is simple in design, enhances biodiversity, and provides opportunity for a greater understanding of the world around in the Forest of Dean.’