The Community Orchard (St. Mary's Field)
Welcome to our website
The Community Orchard was established in 2008. It is a public green space, owned by West Dorset District Council, leased by Bridport Town Council, and managed in partnership with the Bridport Community Orchard Group (BCOG).
The orchard is freely available for everyone to enjoy informally, and also for public events organised either by the orchard group, or other local groups, on application to BCOG (please use our Contact Form).
BCOG is made up entirely of volunteers. New volunteers are always welcome - there's no membership fee. If you would like to join us, or find out more, please contact Ian Bark, Volunteer Co-ordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org.) There's more information about our work party sessions at the foot of this page.
A little bit of background
The orchard is just under one acre of land, located in the heart of the town of Bridport, off South Street and behind St Mary's Churchyard.
It grew out of two community initiatives, one in Bridport, to save a field from development and the other, a year-long project of The Symondsbury Apple Project, which was designed to raise awareness of Dorset’s rich orchard heritage. The field, once priory land, links South Street to the River Brit. In 2006, it was designated as a green space for community use.
The new project created an orchard of apple and other fruit trees, a ‘cordon hedge’ of heritage apple varieties and a wall of espaliers - apple, pears and gages. A link to the list of tree varieties can be found on our Orchard page.
Fourteen allotment plots (including a Community Allotment), sitting areas, an outdoor classroom, wildlife areas and a pond all contribute to making the orchard a truly valuable and sustainable community space.
BCOG's guiding principle is to manage the entire area as a model of "Sustainable Community", maximising the benefits for people and wildlife.
It is operated on organic principles, with the aim of reducing, re-using and recycling whenever possible.
Photo courtesy of Pete Millson
BCOG's volunteers' work party sessions
1. To care for the orchard (St Mary's Field). These are held monthly, usually on the second Sunday of the month. All skills and general help are much appreciated! Dates and details of work parties are posted on the Information Board. You can read all our reports, with photos, here.
2. Work parties are also held at Jubilee Green (a small open space at the top of Park Road, which is owned by Bridport Town Council and managed by them in partnership with BCOG). From June 2017, these will be held on the fourth Sunday of the month at 10.00 a.m. More information about Jubilee Green and links to work party reports can be found here.