Funding boost for community orchard in Somerset

With almost 60 trees, the Buttercross Community Orchard is one of the most beautiful nature spots in Dunster.

Set up by the Dunster Parish Council and Crown Estate in 2011, the orchard is used to hold a range of events, which they often provide fresh apple juice and cider at.

With help from our 2020 Community Fund, the orchard recently purchased a new ladder and hydropress machine to make the apple pressing process more efficient.

Doug Challoner, Chair of the Buttercross Community Orchard, tells us more.

What is the orchard used for?

The orchard is available 365 days a year for anyone who wishes to walk around. Visitors can also relax on one of our benches or picnic tables.

From certain points, you can enjoy wonderful views of the surrounding area, including the Bristol Channel. We also use the orchard to hold events and activities for the residents of Dunster.

We often organise traditional Somerset events to celebrate Wassailing and Apple Day, as well as other social events, such as our yearly Barn Dance.

Fresh juice for community events

When we hold these events, we provide attendees with apple juice and cider which is produced using apples from the orchard.

The committee and volunteers maintain the orchard all year round and run the events. This involves producing fresh apple juice on the day of events which can be a time-consuming process.

We applied for funding from Wessex Water’s 2020 Community Fund to purchase our very own hydropress, as in previous years we have borrowed one from a neighbouring orchard.

The Buttercross Community Orchard team with their new hydropress machine
The Buttercross Community Orchard team with their new hydropress machine.

A new hydropress

We were delighted to find out our application was successful and that we had been provided with a grant to purchase a new hydropress.

While holding events has been more difficult during the coronavirus pandemic, our new equipment will improve our events for years to come.

It will allow our volunteers to spend more time educating and socialising with attendees as we can now juice apples when it suits us.

We are also no longer reliant on the availability of the hydropress we had borrowed in previous years which made producing juice far more difficult.

If you would like to find out more about our events and activities, take a look at our Facebook page.