Fruit orchards were once a common sight across the UK but have declined by 63% since 1950. In 2007 traditional orchards were made a priority habitat in the UK Biodiversity Plan because of their value to wildlife.
For the last four years Bude Friends of the Earth have created a biodiversity trail to increase biodiversity around Neetside and the Castle, to support important pollinators such as bees and butterflies but also to improve habitat for birds, bats and hedgehogs. The planting of a traditional orchard combined with the proximity to the biodiversity trail will support wild bee populations and create awareness of their vital role in pollinating many of our food crops. The fruit can be distributed to the community to help promote healthy diets, and the site will be much enhanced throughout the year especially at blossom time.
The orchard will largely comprise apple trees – including some Cornish Heritage varieties that will be particularly suitable for the local climate. We will also include a few hazelnut trees and some fruit bushes (blackcurrant and raspberry).
The apple trees will be arranged in curved rows surrounding a central clearing which will be used as a focal point for outdoor events. Between the trees the turf will be removed, and a wildflower mix will be planted. The wildflowers will provide additional colour and attract pollinators. In between the rows of trees will be left grassed, and these corridors will be mown regularly.
The varieties of apples planted at the orchard will provide a mix of ‘eaters’ and ‘cookers’ – these will also be suitable for juicing and cider making.
Since the idea was first posted on Bude Friends of the Earth Facebook page we've had a brilliant response - below are just a few of the comments...
"This sounds like a great project for the people of Bude and surrounding areas to get behind"
"I'm pretty positive they [Bude BLEND] will be up for helping this exciting project. Many hands and all that. If you like I can ask them to come up with ideas for what they would like to see there? And if you like you could come along and do some brainstorming with them!! Sounds a brilliant idea though." - BLEND Bude Youth Collective
"Brilliant idea. Happy to help ;-)"
"Great idea. Happy to help if you need a pair of hands"
"Fantastic! Happy to lend a hand or two!"
"I'm happy to help with the digging when it comes to all the planting"
"If you need some manpower for planting / clearing let us know. We'll be happy to help."
"What a brilliant project!"
We're hopeful that with all these supportive messages we'll receive lots of small donations so that the people of Bude - and of course visitors from all over will feel that the orchard belongs to them too.
The Community Orchard will be a wonderful asset to Bude - providing an area where people can get together for apple based activities or just to enjoy the space - we hope this will provide an incentive for lots of people to donate a small amount - plus of course there's the apples that will freely available.
The Crowdfunder platform allows us to provide extra rewards as a way of saying a special 'thank you' for larger donations.
£10 – (100 available) You will receive an apple recipe e-booklet produced by us - containing lots of recipes and ideas for delicious things you can do with apples
£25 - Sponsor a tree* - (20 available) Your name will appear on a tag on a specific tree and on an orchard map or wall of fame (plus the recipe e-booklet)
£50 – VIP pass to planting session – (10 available - assume 2 each over 5 planting days) - You get to sit under cover in a comfy chair and get treated to tea/coffee plus apple cake/cookies in between planting efforts. This would include tree sponsorship* - and you can even get to plant your sponsored tree.
* - tree sponsorship limited to one per person/family
To start with we need just over £1000 to get the orchard started. This includes the trees, fruit bushes and wildflower seeds plus all the stuff needed to give them a good start - tree ties, stakes, tubes and compost. In the longer term we plan to add seating to the orchard, and other items that would benefit community use of the space (e.g. a temporary canopy or tent for outdoor events in wet weather). Just in case the Crowdfunder appeal is really successful, we've set out the stretch targets below. If we reach these targets then we'll be able to add these items sooner - but we won't necessarily add the exact ones shown below.
If you are able to support the creation of a Community Orchard with even a small donation then thank you very much indeed - we hope you will enjoy the space and perhaps we'll see you there one day. If you are not able to support the project financially then please share this page amongst your friends and family and other networks.
Either way, all will be welcome at Bude Community Orchard and there will plenty to do there over the coming weeks and months.