Somerset Community Orchards

Why community orchards? 

apple blossom in community orchard

About two thirds of Britain’s orchards have been lost since 1960. Much of our fruit is imported, with environmental and social effects.

Community Orchards give local people an opportunity to grow fruit together on land that is generally accessible to the public. Orchards are maintained by volunteers who share the harvest. Surplus produce is distributed and community events are held, such as Wassails and Apple Days.

In West Somerset groups are making apple juice which covers the cost of maintaining the orchard and contributes to other groups getting started. Some projects are also donating fruit to distribution schemes, such as food banks.

Orchards can be an incredibly effective way of supporting biodiversity and can keep alive many traditional varieties that supermarkets don't sell. Orchards also create a different kind of space where people can come together, and are generally much lower maintenance than community gardens.

Find your nearest community orchard

Somerset is apple country, and there are a number of well established community orchards across Somerset:


South Somerset 

Taunton & West


Also, Common Ground has a page of information about Somerset Orchards and you can view the People's Trust for Endangered Species' community orchards map (they also offer grants to community orchard projects).

Starting a Community Orchard


If there isn't a community orchard in your area, you may be inspired to start one. New community orchard groups are likely to take the steps detailed in our Community organising and Landseekers guidebooks, including:

  • Finding allies to make it happen
  • Deciding how to work together and what structure your group will take
  • Finding land together
  • Finding sources of start-up funding - Thatchers have an annual Community Orchard Fund
  • Consideration of using your site as a place for community events and learning

Above all, the best advice is to get support! Be inspired by other local projects and utilise their experience and knowledge in making your vision a reality.

Inspiring examples in Somerset

Frieze Hill Community Orchard is in Taunton and was set up in 2003 by a group of local people. The land used to form part of the adjacent allotments. The volunteer run group have planted over 100 trees, diverse hedges and organised lots of popular local events.

Porlock Vale Community Orchard were supported through the Get Growing Support Fund as part of the Somerset Land & Food Project. However their work started many months before, when two volunteers talked about how to revitalise the orchard in the village, communicating with the landowner and bringing people together to make the restoration possible. 

Brendon Orchards, Wiveliscombe hold community juicing sessions, run by volunteers where you can press small quantities of your own juice. 

Other resources of regional and national groups.

Other Somerset Orchards you can visit (admission charges may apply):

Further sources of support & information


Recommended Reading

  • The Holistic Orchard, Michael Phillips
  • Community Orchards Handbook, Sue Clifford & Angela King

Where to buy fruit trees

Information on forest gardens / food forests coming soon...