Huxhams Cross Community Orchard is a community initiative devised by a group of residents of the Huxhams Cross estate in Dartington, Devon. It is a non-profit distributing company – basically a co-operative – open to any resident of Huxhams Cross or within a half mile radius.
With the owners, Dartington Hall Trust, we have negotiated the 20-year lease of a large, south-facing field southwest of Huxhams Cross. We began planting on 16 February 2013. More trees will follow, to include apples, pears, plums, cherries, nuts, and some less common orchard species.
Like hundreds of communities across the UK, we believe a community orchard will bring many benefits to Huxhams Cross. An orchard can:
- enrich the life of our community through shared work in a shared space;
- provide an opportunity for healthy exercise and a harvest of organic fruits;
- enhance our local environment and wildlife habitats;
- learn and help our children learn to grow food sustainably for the future.
The orchard project already has widespread support from the community, including long-standing older residents and young families, home-owners and those in housing association properties. We have close ties with Transition Town Totnes and with other community land use initiatives including Week Community Orchard and TTT’s ‘Incredible Edible’ and Nut Tree planting projects. Dartington Primary School has expressed an interest in using the orchard as a Forest School site.