Creating orchards together at Brockhampton

Replanting the orchard

The orchard at Brockhampton is a rather magical place throughout the changing seasons. From white springtime blossom to branches laden with rosy-red apples, the orchards and produce lie at the very heart of this ancient estate.

Join us in celebrating the launch of the new orchards on Saturday 21 May. You can find out more information here

Records show that throughout the last century the orchards surrounding Lower Brockhampton Manor decreased in size, with the land being used mostly for grazing livestock. Thanks to a substantial award of £140,000 from Postcode Earth Trust by players of People’s Postcode Lottery and funds from Arts Council England alongside generous National Trust supporters’ donations, we have now reinstated 21 acres of lost orchard. 

Through clever and imaginative planting, the first orchard, known as ‘reimagined orchard’, tells different stories of how various fruit trees ended up in the UK. Project Manager, Ellie Jones worked alongside renowned Bristol-based artist Walter Jack and chartered landscape architects Rathbourne, to create both an engaging and intriguing design for the project. Within an apple core structure, five ‘orchard chambers’ have been planted containing unusual and rare varieties of fruit, specially chosen to tell the story of the eating apple from its origins in Kazakhstan to the traditional Herefordshire cider apple. One of the five ‘rooms’ was planted solely with damson trees using a particular variety known as the Shropshire Prune, a local variety which has thrived at Brockhampton over the past sixty years. 

The apple core tells the story of the eating apple
Replanting the orchard
The apple core tells the story of the eating apple
" These circular orchards, are about telling the story of fruit at Brockhampton and where it began a few miles away and a few thousand miles away. This is about geographical connections that are the extraordinary story of fruit’ "
- Walter Jack

Beyond the apple core, natural play activities have been installed into 'orchard rooms', alongside hundreds of newly planted fruit trees. Children can imagine that they are captain of the 'Herefordshire Bull' trow as it carries fruit down the river Wye, or can run, jump, skip and climb on natural play equipment. Each 'orchard room' highlights the interaction between wildlife and orchard habitats, illustrating the benefits of planting fruit trees for the biodiversity of the estate. You are also able to spot the wooden animal sculptures as you walk around the orchards. 

Come and see the animal sculptures at Brockhampton
Badger sculpture in Brockhampton's orchards
Come and see the animal sculptures at Brockhampton

Linking the old and new orchards, we have installed three kilometres of accessible paths, creating an orchard walk that the whole family can enjoy together. With benches set at regular intervals along the route, you will have ample opportunity to pause amongst the sapling trees and take a moment to absorb the sounds and smells of the spring orchard.  

Take a walk through the 'reimagined' orchards
Walking through the new orchard at Brockhampton
Take a walk through the 'reimagined' orchards

The second orchard is situated on tenanted farmland. Brockhampton farmers, James and Victoria Hawkins supported the project as part of their ambition to diversify and create more nature friendly habitats. The orchard is planted with meadow grass and native wildflowers to encourage a diversity of pollinators such as bees and butterflies and not only has this new space created more homes for wildlife but the design itself has helped to improve drainage and culverts, allowing water to flow more effectively throughout the fields.

James and Victoria Hawkins in the orchard
James and Victoria Hawkins sat in the orchard during springtime when the blossom is out.
James and Victoria Hawkins in the orchard
" Nowadays it is important for us to ensure we are taking care of our health and well-being and we hope this project will enable more people to feel included in our work and able to spend more time in the outdoors and closer to nature’ "
- Ellie Jones

The project has taken three years to complete, but now fruit production is at the core of Brockhampton once again. We are celebrating the new orchard on Saturday 21 May, with music, talks, children’s activities and much more. Come along and enjoy the magic of the young trees. You can find out more here.