Dorking Community Orchard was established in 2009 by Transition Dorking on the site of the neglected “Millennium Orchard” just north of the Ranmore Allotments. The site is nearly two acres in size.
We are a Community Project, and the orchard is open to everyone. We have planted over 130 new fruit trees since March 2010, but we also take care of several mature fruit and trees which were planted at the time of the Millennium. Within a few years we expect to generate a significant crop of apples, pears, plums and other fruit – which will be available at Food Float on Dorking High Street. We are concentrating on local and heritage varieties wherever possible, and are building a picture of the numerous small orchards which formed quite an important part of the agricultural heritage of the Dorking area.
The regular cycle of activities in the orchard, and regular events we organise, are shown in the “The Orchard Year” wheel (to the left). The year starts with our (not to be missed!) Wassail, a traditional celebration and ceremony which is thought to ensure a good harvest in autumn. We hold pruning workshops, propagation workshops, and organise picnics at Blossom time and at midsummer. We also celebrate Apple Day, and organise a number of apple pressing events at which our volunteers also press apples brought to us by the public. The orchard is available all year round for school groups and community events.
The orchard is managed by Dorking Community Orchard CIC on land leased from Mole Valley District Council. We have a planting plan you can look at here and we regularly hold work parties to clear the space and plant trees. If you’d like to hear more about us, or if you’d like to become a Friend of the Orchard please have a look over here.
We’ve made a short powerpoint presentation showing the Orchard and its progress over the years.