Community orchards

An orchard is a collection of fruit and nut trees, often planted amongst grass and wild flowers. They were once widespread across the UK but it's estimated that 90% of traditional orchards have been lost since the 1950s. As well as creating habitats for wildlife, orchards and other trees cool the urban environment and play an important role in taking up excess rainfall to prevent flooding.

Community orchards can be found in parks, schools, hospitals and housing estates. They're looked after by local people and are a place to share knowledge and show how to live well in nature.

We've created 12 community orchards across Stockport. Our long term aim is to develop a community orchard within every ward area and for them to become a facility for the local community.

Our aims for the orchards are to:

  • plant and cultivate local and unusual varieties of fruit
  • be open and free for the public to enjoy
  • encourage community involvement and act as a focal point for community activities. For example; plays, picnics or fetes
  • encourage opportunities for learning new skills. For example; pruning and grafting
  • encourage wildlife to inhabit the area and establish beekeeping
  • act as an open air classroom and educational resource for local schools
  • be used as a meeting place for local events. For example; Apple Day on 21 October, May Day, wassailing
  • promote the health benefits of eating and trying new fruits
  • encourage people to plant fruit trees in their own gardens
  • benefit from locally sourced fruit and reduce ‘food miles’

Many varieties of fruit are grown in our orchards, including many heritage varieties such as Toadback pear. Robert Mackellar, head gardener at Abney Hall Garden, exhibited this variety at the National Pear Conference in London in 1885.

Our community orchards

  • Mersey Vale Nature Park
  • Abney Park
  • Reddish Vale Country Park
  • North Reddish Park
  • Heaton Norris Recreation Ground
  • Hollywood Park
  • Tangshutts & Gotherage Recreation Ground
  • Cuddington Crescent Public Open Space
  • Ladybrook Valley
  • Half Moon Lane Public Open Space
  • Woodbank Park/Woodlands Park
  • Highfield Road Recreation Park

Mirlees Field Community Orchard is on private land but has open access to all for free fruit.

If you'd like to help look after an orchard, or get involved in any way, contact the local Friends of Group. You can also call the Arboriculture Team on 0161 217 6111 or email stockportdirect@stockport.gov.uk.