About the orchard

Our Community Orchard in Crowborough

Crowborough Community Orchard in Herne Road is a local community project run in partnership with Ashdown Primary School.

Our community orchard is open to its members outside of school hours (evenings, weekends and school holidays) and open to the public for certain key events.

We look after the orchard and the site also includes forest school facilities managed by Ashdown Primary School.

In December 2022 we planted our first fruit trees!

We planted 18 pear and apple trees and some hedging, adding to the woodland trees that had already been planted.

January 2023 – More trees are getting planted

Quite a few more trees have arrived, ready to get planted in late January.

Taking part in ‘Green Transition Crowborough‘ in February 2023

The ‘Green Transition’ movement is growing in Crowborough. We had a little stall at their fair showing people how great different varieties of apples can look and taste. Cherry Gardens Farm in Groombridge kindly provided us with the apples. Emily, our Forest School teacher, prepared a few activities for kids on site. Many new members signed up too.

Also we planted our first heritage apple varieties and asked them to grow well!

After mainly grass cutting and a few last plantings in March, now we are helping the espaliers to grow. April 2023.

Kevin made sure all the necessary equipment for erecting poles and installing wires for our first espaliers are there. Great fun! We also enlarged and maintained as many tree pits as possible.

May 2023 – Preparing the base for a shed

Our main task this month is to prepare the floor for our tool shed. There will be gravel combined with wooden sleepers and we hope once the shed is erected we will be able to collect water from its gutters. We also did some weeding around the hedgings and trees. And: We got rewarded with the first beautiful blossoms!

Our first AGM in June 2023

It is summer. The orchard looks lush. Most of the trees are growing well and are even bearing their first fruit! Sadly, two of the heritage trees and two others are not looking great. But we had a very dry few weeks and water is an important issue at the moment. As we are not connected to the mains we have to get water from the school across the road. So our June meeting, as well as some weekdays in between meetings, are all about getting water in cans or containers over to our trees. Not ideal, but we hope we will be solving that problem soon.

We also had our first AGM and were really excited about what we have achieved within that first year. We are optimistic the orchard will grow and become a place of plentyful fruit, joy, biodiversity and community.

Kevin has successfully applied for a grant for our Pollinator Garden which we will be establishing in the future. Here is his garden design map:

Building our tool shed in July 2023

We were expecting rain on the Saturday we were planning to erect our tool shed. But the weather god was kind and surprised us with 1,5 dry hours. Enough to put the roof on after finding our way through the in parts slightly confusing manual. But in the end we were absolutely happy and found us cheering in the rain. We did it!!

Finally harvesting our first apple in August 2023

It was such a joy finally being able to harvest our first few apples. Rewarding, after many month of working our way through our first year. The trees are still small but some of them were proudly showing us their most beautiful fruits.

Children plant their trees in November 2023

Quite a few children from the Green Team of Ashdown School had fun plantig their own trees. Ochard members assisted them so they learned a lot about how to make a young tree comfortable in the soil. A very exciting day for all of us!


Our new Pollinator Garden is taking shape in January 2024

We are still busy planting the last trees for this planting season. And our Pollinator Garden is starting to take shape. Soon here will grow wild flowers to attract all the pollinators we need for our orchard blossoms.

We had an interesting pruning day in February 2024

Kevin, who went to a pruning course for young fruit trees, told and showed us how to prune 1- and 2-year old trees. Everyone was encouraged to try out the new skills. We managed to prune all our young trees!

The pollinator garden in March 2024

Our working party in March was all about getting rubble, bricks and tarmac around our pollinator garden out of the ground. We even ordered a skip to get rid of as much of the material as possible. Hard work for our members and well done all! There is still quite a bit of work to be done but it is taking on shape! We also planted our little hedge whips in order to create a border around the pollinator garden.

Contact us

If you would like to get in touch with us to become a member, sponsor a tree, or if you have any other queries or questions please contact us…

How to find the orchard