Highbury is an inspiring place: ‘a piece of countryside in the city,’ said Joe Chamberlain over a hundred years ago, and it still feels that way today. The community orchard at Highbury is a place to lay down the stresses of urban life and pick up a garden or coppicing tool; or to just be, breathing in the quietness.
Would you like to get involved in the Orchard Community?
There are various ways you can do this, as a volunteer, a customer, or a supporter:
- Hands-on gardening and construction work, food preserving, woodworking
- Participating in family or well-being sessions
- Helping in the office
- Advising about permaculture or various aspects of business development
More about each activity
Open Orchard is run entirely voluntarily, and we welcome people’s input of ideas as well as their hard work. Together we are creating an integrated functioning space for fruit growing, relaxation, learning and practising skills. Apples, soft fruit, rhubarb, a variety of herbs, and honey are harvested and sold fresh to All Saints Café, or preserved and sold. Help with the occasional food prep work is also very welcome.
Stick Around is our forest school for grown-ups. It includes conservation, craft and contemplation. It is open to all and especially welcomes people who are managing mental health issues or isolation.
Well-Being Walks are for people wanting social contact and a gentle walk around the park to observe and celebrate the seasons. We especially welcome people who are managing issues related to isolation and mental health.
Woodland Play for families learning together are child-led, play-based sessions. A starter stimulus from nature is offered to support the children’s own ideas. Sessions are run by qualified practitioners, and the sharing of skills and ideas are welcomed.
Our weekly timetable
is pretty consistent, and caters to a diverse range of people.
It looks approximately like this:
Sundays (1st and 3rd in the month)
- Open Orchard, 1PM till dusk, for garden work (Meet at the orchard, at a time to suit yourself)
- Every 3rd Sunday 1:30 – 3:30, we incorporate a Woodland Play session for families with children aged 0-8years, as well as the orchard work. The group meets at the plark play area as on Wednesdays, before coming up to the Orchard. Sessions cost £3 per child, and £2 each for a second or third chld in the family group.
- Schools work (@Hazel Arches)
- Schools work (@Henburys Wood)
- Well-being Walk, 11-12 noon, for a gentle exploration (Meet at the High St park entrance)
- Woodland Play for families, £3 (£2) per child. (Meet at the park play area. No need to book, just pay on arrival.)
- 0-5s meet at 1:30
- 5-8s meet at 3:45
- Stick Around, 1-3PM (Meet at the orchard, 1PM)
- Admin at our home-office (and at other times too)
- Day-off (mostly)
We are thinking of ways to create a range of membership options in the near future, to give people distinct choices that suit their needs.
For everyone’s benefit, we ask that the orchard and its immediate surroundings become a smoke-free zone while we have volunteers and participants in sessions. If you do smoke or vape, we ask that you do so around the corner on the Farm Track, where there is a sand bucket for waste.
Alternatively, you can subscribe here at our MailChimp sign up page.