Cotteridge Community Orchard

Cotteridge Community Orchard is one of the first new orchards to be planted in Birmingham for decades.  The first trees were planted in 2006 and new trees are added each year.

The Orchard is a haven of peace and tranquility for humans and wildlife in a busy world (except for the wassail).  The Orchard is maintained by a dedicated volunteers – if you want to join the team send us an email.

What is a Wassail? The Wassail is an ancient celebration that starts the Orchard year. It is held on the old calendar’s twelfth night (17th January in new money). The aim is to scare away the bad spirits that will harm the apple crop with fire & loud noises and appease the good spirits with gifts. Wassail 2015 will be held on Saturday 17th January. Starting at 3pm with tree planting. Wear wellies & bring a torch and something to make a loud noise with.

 

The Orchard History

Along the side of the park, near the railway line, is a strip of land that used to be allotments that belonged to British Rail and was used by railway workers. From 1997 the land was sold to a series of private owners at auction and over time the land was used to dump rubbish on and the weeds ran riot – turning the land into a tip and rat haven!
Eventually local residents, with support from the Midlands Co-operative Society, raised nearly £7,000 to buy the land and restore as a community orchard.

In 2005 the job of clearing the land began most of the early hard work was taken on by Gordon who worked tirelessly to clear the weeds, rubble and rubbish.

In 2006 we recieved a grant from Birmingham Trees for Life to undertake some of the heavy tree work and to purchase the fruit trees. The first trees were planted at an apple day event in October 2006. The rest of the trees were planted in the Spring of 2007.

The tree varieties are a mixture of traditional and modern chosen for us by Nick Dunn, from Frank P Matthews a company that has been supplying fruit trees for more than 100 years. Nick’s grandfather was responsible for supplying all the Bournville Village Trust houses with fruit trees for their gardens.

 

Apple Varieties in the Orchard include Bramley, Ashmeads Kernal, Herefordshire Russet, Charles Ross, Scrumptious, Red Devil, Red Windsor, Greensleeves, Discovery, Red Falstaff, Limelight, Grenadier, Sunset, Fiesta and Katy.

Outdoor Classroom (or the curly wurly benches)

Spring 2008 saw the start of work on our “outdoor classroom”. With a kind financial donation from a local resident, a design produced by an FoCP member and oak sourced from Pepper Wood (a community woodland near Bromsgrove) this unique seating enables local schools, community groups, families and friends to make the most of the learning and leisure opportunities in the orchard.

Compost, coppices & soft fruit

As well as fruit trees the Orchard is home to soft fruit (blackcurrants, blackberries, raspberries & strawberries), hazel and willow coppices and 4 marvellous compost bays.