Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK info@transitionmarlborough.org

Marlborough Community Orchard

Marlborough Community Orchard was started by a group of determined volunteers with a vision of a town among the trees. They wanted to do something about the decline in native orchards over the past 50 years and to make Marlborough a better place to live. They gained the support of local people, community groups and businesses; raising funds for trees and identifying sites for planting. In 2010 the first trees were planted as small whips in the Jubilee Gardens and today there are nearly 100 mature trees throughout the town for everyone to enjoy.

Enjoying the Orchard

Trees support our wellbeing and connect us to nature. Marlborough’s trees have beautiful blossom in early Spring when you may spot bees and other pollinators enjoying this too. Their leaves gradually unfurl providing shade and a place to sit, read a book, draw or have a picnic in the heat of summer. This is followed by fruit which ripens by the autumn and is there for anyone to pick and use. The community orchard includes apples, plums, damsons and medlars with some varieties for eating and others for cooking.

Each tree has a label with the type and we hope to put up information signs. At the moment we are planting wildflowers at the Diamond Jubilee Plantation which has 25 trees to add nectar for pollinators and encourage wildlife. We are developing an Orchard Walk leaflet (available soon) and also run events such as wassails and apple pressings which are open to everyone and publicised on our website www.transitionmarlborough.org.uk.

Our next event is on 12th September. We will walk around 8 of the community orchard sites to the main planting at the Diamond Jubilee Plantation on the Common, Free’s Avenue. Once there we will plant yellow rattle plugs which will reduce the grass and prepare the area for wild flowers next year. We will then finish with a picnic. Everyone is welcome (please bring your own picnic). To join the walk, meet at the Roebuck Inn car park for 11am. This should take approximately 1 hour and so we will be at the Common by midday for plug planting. If it rains heavily, the event will be postponed until the following Sunday.

Where is Marlborough Community Orchard?

1. The Diamond Jubilee Plantation is at the heart of the community orchard where most of the trees are ancient Wiltshire apple varieties which, along with many of England’s native fruit trees are in danger of being forgotten, due to the pressures of the commercial apple market. It is a quiet spot at the top of Kingsbury Street with plenty of space for a picnic or games where you can see Wiltshire’s oldest varieties of fruit trees, with one over 200 years old.

  • Bedwyn Beauty – grown by Mr Stone of Great Bedwyn in about 1890
  • Burn’s Seeding – raised by the head gardener at Tottenham Park in 1831
  • Celt – grown by David Harris of Melksham in 1943 during WW11
  • Chorister Boy – found in a garden near Salisbury around 1890
  • Corsley Pippin – a sweet golden apple originating around 1905 from trees planted at Corsley School, near Longleat
  • Dredge’s Fame – Wiltshire’s oldest recorded apple dating back to 1802 and grown by nurseryman William Dredge of Wishford, Salisbury
  • Julia’s Late Golden – a newer variety found near Codford St Peter’s, Warminster in 2001
  • Mary Barnett – planted as a pip by Mary Barnett on her wedding day in 1920
  • Roundway Magnum Bonum – bred by Mr Joy, head gardener of Roundway Park, Devizes in 1864
  • Wiltshire Monster – raised by William Turner in Worton, Devizes around 1900. The apple kept well helping people to survive the winter when less food was available

! There is also a mulberry tree cloned from the national collection at Buckingham Palace. Mulberry trees can live for 400 years.

2. Wye House Garden, Barn Street is just off the town centre and beautifully kept with flowers, a pond, lawns and toddler’s play area. It includes 12 community orchard trees and is open from 9am until dusk.

3. Priory Gardens behind the High Street are a lovely stopping point. They are bordered by the River Kennet where you can often see wildlife. There is plenty of seating and 6 community orchard trees.

4. Roger’s Meadow has an orchard of 17 trees.

5. Waitrose car park – check out the espaliered trees of Marlborough Community Orchard along the wall as you do your shopping.

There are also a number of smaller sites:

  • Jubilee Field, Manton – 6 trees
  • Morris Road (Dando Drive and Sorley Close) – 5 trees
  • Reed’s Ground, opposite TH White’s in London Road – 2 trees
  • St Mary’s Churchyard – 4 trees
  • St Peter’s Churchyard – 3 trees

How can I get involved?

We welcome volunteers to help us look after the orchard trees at events such as a bulb and tree plantings and with seasonal jobs. Each Spring we check and mulch the trees to encourage their growth. Later in the year we prune (instructions given on the day), thin the fruit and harvest it. We are also looking for volunteers to ‘befriend’ trees in their area, carry out the above jobs and let us know of any problems such as a broken branch.

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact secretary@transitionmarlborough.org.

Future plans

Marlborough Community Orchard is now overseen by Transition Marlborough. As well as caring for the trees we are actively enhancing the Diamond Jubilee Plantation for biodiversity where the site is under our direct management. We have reduced mowing which benefits both insects and the wildlife that preys upon them and are planting wildflowers to provide food for pollinating inspects in early spring and late autumn when other sources are less available.

We also plan to improve signs and encourage enjoyment of Marlborough Community Orchard through a town trail leaflet and fruit themed events, and to plant more trees in the future.

Community Supporters

A big thanks to all those who have sponsored trees in the Orchard. If you would like to sponsor a tree, perhaps to remember a special event or person, please contact secretary@transitionmarlborough.org.

  • For Helene Bailey in memoriam
  • Edwina Fogg
  • Jeffrey and Alison Galvin-Wright
  • Charles and Fran Taylor to celebrate their marriage
  • Marlborough Brandt Group and Gunjar in the Gambia
  • Marlborough Churches Together
  • Marlborough College
  • Marlborough Communities Market
  • Marlborough Community Choir
  • Marlborough Community Orchard
  • Marlborough & District Rotary Club
  • Marlborough Football Club
  • Marlborough Gardening Association
  • Marlborough History Society
  • Marlborough Rugby Club
  • Marlborough Town Council
  • North Wessex AON
  • St John’s Academy
  • St Mary’s Under Fives
  • The Tree Council
  • Transition Marlborough
  • Trustees of the Merchant House
  • U3A in Kennett
  • Waitrose
  • Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

Marlborough Community Orchard

Marlborough Community Orchard was started by a group of determined volunteers with a vision of a town among the trees. They wanted to do something about the decline in native orchards over the past 50 years and to make Marlborough a better place to live. They gained the support of local people, community groups and businesses; raising funds to buy trees and identifying sites for planting. In 2010 the first trees were planted as small whips in the Jubilee Gardens and today there are nearly 100 mature trees throughout the town for everyone to enjoy.

Enjoying the Orchard

Trees support our wellbeing and connect us to nature. Marlborough’s trees have beautiful blossom in early Spring when you may spot bees and other pollinators enjoying this too. Their leaves gradually unfurl providing shade and a place to sit, read a book, draw or have a picnic in the heat of summer. This is followed by fruit which ripens by the autumn and is there for anyone to pick and use. The community orchard includes apples, plums, damsons and medlars with some varieties for eating and others for cooking.

Each tree has a label with the type and we hope to put up information signs. At the moment we are planting wildflowers at the Diamond Jubilee Plantation which has 25 trees to add nectar for pollinators and encourage wildlife. We are developing an Orchard Walk leaflet (available soon) and also run events such as wassails and apple pressings which are open to everyone and publicised here on our website.

Where is Marlborough community orchard?

1. The Diamond Jubilee Plantation is at the heart of the community orchard where most of the trees are ancient Wiltshire apple trees which, along with many of England’s native fruit trees, are in danger of being forgotten due to the pressures of the commercial apple market. It is a quiet spot at the top of Kingsbury Street with plenty of space for a picnic or games where you can see Wiltshire’s oldest varieties of trees, with one over 200 years old.

  • Bedwyn Beauty grown by Mr Stone of Great Bedwyn in about 1890
  • Burn’s Seeding raised by the head gardener at Tottenham Park in 1831
  • Celt grown by David Harris of Melksham in 1943 during WW11
  • Chorister Boy found in a garden near Salisbury around 1890
  • Corsley Pippin a sweet golden apple originating around 1905 from trees planted at Corsley School, near Longleat
  • Dredge’s Fame Wiltshire’s oldest recorded apple dating back to 1802 and grown by nurseryman William Dredge of Wishford, Salisbury
  • Julia’s Late Golden a newer variety found near Codford St Peter’s, Warminster in 2001
  • Mary Barnett planted as a pip by Mary Barnett on her wedding day in 1920
  • Roundway Magnum Bonum bred by Mr Joy, head gardener of Roundway Park, Devizes in 1864
  • Wiltshire Monster raised by William Turner in Worton, Devizes around 1900. The apple kept well helping people to survive the winter when less food was available

! There is also a mulberry tree cloned from the national collection at Buckingham Palace. Mulberry trees can live for 400 years.

2. Wye House Garden, Barn Street is just off the town centre and beautifully kept with flowers, a pond, lawns and toddler’s play area. It includes 12 community orchard trees and is open from 9am until dusk.

3. Priory Gardens behind the High Street are a lovely stopping point. They are bordered by the River Kennet where you can often see wildlife. There is plenty of seating and 6 community orchard trees.

4. Roger’s Meadow has an orchard of 17 trees.

5. Waitrose car park – check out the espaliered trees of Marlborough Community Orchard along the wall as you do your shopping.

There are also a number of smaller sites:

  • Jubilee Field, Manton – 6 trees
  • Morris Road (Dando Drive and Sorley Close) – 5 trees
  • Reed’s Ground, opposite TH White’s in London Road – 2 trees
  • St Mary’s Churchyard – 4 trees
  • St Peter’s Churchyard – 3 trees

How can I get involved?

We welcome volunteers to help us look after the orchard trees at events such as a bulb and tree plantings and with seasonal jobs. Each Spring we check and mulch the trees to encourage their growth. Later in the year we prune (instructions given on the day), thin the fruit and harvest it. We are also looking for volunteers to ‘befriend’ trees in their area, carry out the above jobs and let us know of any problems such as a broken branch. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact secretary@transitionmarlborough.org.

Wildflower planting at the Diamond Jubilee Plantation

Future Plans

Marlborough Community Orchard is now overseen by Transition Marlborough. As well as caring for the trees we are actively enhancing the Diamond Jubilee Plantation for biodiversity where the site is under our direct management. We have reduced mowing which benefits both insects and the wildlife that preys upon them and are planting wildflowers to provide food for pollinating inspects in early spring and late autumn when other sources are less available. We also plan to improve signs and encourage enjoyment of Marlborough Community Orchard through a town trail leaflet and fruit themed events, and to plant more trees in the future.

Community Supporters

A big thanks to all those who have sponsored trees in the Orchard. If you would like to sponsor a tree, perhaps to remember a special event or person, please contact secretary@transitionmarlborough.org.

  • For Helene Bailey in memoriam
  • Edwina Fogg
  • Jeffrey and Alison Galvin-Wright
  • Charles and Fran Taylor to celebrate their marriage
  • Marlborough Brandt Group and Gunjar in the Gambia
  • Marlborough Churches Together
  • Marlborough College
  • Marlborough Communities Market
  • Marlborough Community Choir
  • Marlborough Community Orchard
  • Marlborough & District Rotary Club
  • Marlborough Football Club
  • Marlborough Gardening Association
  • Marlborough History Society
  • Marlborough Rugby Club
  • Marlborough Town Council
  • North Wessex AON
  • St John’s Academy
  • St Mary’s Under Fives
  • The Tree Council
  • Transition Marlborough
  • Trustees of the Merchant House
  • U3A in Kennett
  • Waitrose
  • Wiltshire Wildlife Trust

Saving Marlborough’s bees

Sunflower Bees

Transition Marlborough has joined an ambitious national project to save bees.

The group created Bee Roadzz in 2018 with partners including the farmers of Marlborough Downs Space for Nature. And now Bee Roadzz is joining B-Lines, a project by national charity Buglife.

B-lines is a network of joined habitats so pollinating insects, such as bees, butterflies and hoverflies, can move freely around the British countryside.

Marlborough is in a crucial position at a crossroads in the Swindon to Salisbury and Hungerford to Chippenham B-lines insect network.

“Marlborough and our neighbouring villages, towns, farmers and landowners can make a big contribution to the free movement and survival of essential insects such as bees, butterflies and hoverflies,” said Milly Carmichael, chair of Transition Marlborough.

It has been predicted that as much as 70 percent of insect species could go extinct if they are stuck within ever decreasing fragments of countryside.

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A Community Fridge for Marlborough…coming soon

community fridge logo

What is a Community Fridge?

A Community Fridge is a large fridge that is open for the whole community to use – pretty much as simple as that. Following strict food hygiene and safety practice, a group of willing volunteers help surplus edible food from local retail and households to be shared, through the fridge, with anyone who’d like to take it. You don’t have to be member, you don’t have to explain to anyone why you’re using it, there is simply a request that you only take what you need and leave the fridge in the condition you found it (or even better).

There are now over 100 Community Fridges around the country, many part of the Hubbub network which we have joined. They are helping to make use of the enormous untapped resource of surplus and underused food supplies. Perhaps surprisingly, most food waste actually happens at household level and a Community Fridge can play a part in reducing that waste too.

The average household throws away £700 worth of food every year.

Most food waste in the UK is avoidable and could have been eaten had it been better managed.

What’s happening in Marlborough?

Working in partnership with the Town Council and drawing on the enthusisam of a good team of willing volunteers, there will soon be a Community Fridge open in Marlborough in the community room overlooking Coopers Meadow playpark, in the George Lane Car Park (behind the public loos).

The team will be contacting local food retailers, caterers, cafes and restaurants as well as connecting with local market stall holders, allotmenteers and home growers to redirect perfectly edible food that might otherwise go unused to the shelves of the fridge to be freely shared.

How you can help

While the fridge cannot take cooked food from private households, you can donate fresh, fridge-able food that is in date and edible. Perhaps you’re going away for a break, have bought more than you need or something you don’t like. No need to bin it – bring it to the fridge instead.

There is a small area of grass right next to the community room and ideas are already flowing about planting up a PYO herb garden, running small-group cookery workshops, even setting up a pop-up smoothie bar when the fridge has lots of fresh fruit and veg. Come next apple season, fruit from the trees of the Marlborough Community Orchard can make their way to the fridge too so everyone can benefit from the super-local goodness of fresh, seasonal fruit.

Watch this space for news and get in touch if you’d like to be involved.

Buzzing down the Bee Roadzz

free plants for bees

Transition Marlborough wanted to help save the bees so they started joining up landscapes to connect pollinators and people.

This is the story of a small, local project to help bees. They are in trouble, along with all flying insects, and we can all do something to help.

There are 25 native species of bumblebee, over 250 species of solitary bee and one species of honeybee in the UK. Many are in decline, but even DEFRA’s 2014 10 year National Pollinator Strategy highlights that we know very little about many of them, so measuring baselines and progress is a real challenge. Last year German research hit the headlines showing a 75% drop in flying insect biomass over just 27 years across 63 nature protection areas. What a wake-up call.

Read More