New Beckton Park community orchard

Planting a community orchard has enriched New Beckton Park and enabled local communities to enjoy it for even more reasons.

900
Est. number of people
who benefit directly

Our story

New Beckton Park in Newham is a mostly flat open park overlooked by houses. It’s mainly used for sports and walking. We created a community orchard as a local resource for wildlife, education and growing local food. Traditional orchards are a rare asset in the UK and are under enormous threat, having declined by 90% since the 1950s. Besides giving us the opportunity to forage, orchards bring all sorts of benefits. By simply existing, they show us where fruits and nuts come from, how pollination works, and encourage us to use the harvest to make nutritious, delicious meals.

We decided to plant an orchard to enrich the park, and allow local communities to enjoy it for even more reasons. To do this, we embarked on a partnership with Newham Council, and started planning last year.

From the start, we were keen to engage with the local community to make sure we delivered something that worked for them. Residents were asked to vote for their favourite fruits and nuts, which made up the planting list for the orchard. They opted for apple, pear, plum, mulberry, gage, crab apple, hazel, medlar and quince. The turnout was really good: 139 local people joined us to plant the 20 fruit and nut trees including two local primary schools and one nursery.

Trees For Cities has a lot of experience in organising urban tree planting projects and we are interested in hearing from other community groups or local councils who may need support in getting their project off the ground.

What have you learnt that others will find most useful?

  • Involving kids from local schools is a good opportunity to get them and their parents on board. Works for kids from nursery school age and up!
  • A well-organised tree planting event helps create a stronger sense of togetherness within the community which can lead to greater ownership and pride in the community orchard by local residents.
  • Council funding (part or full) is important so they have a stake in the project.
  • The strong community element can appeal to local businesses who may also be willing to part fund the project. It is worthwhile to approach them if you need more funding and can promote the project.

Read more: https://www.treesforcities.org/our-work/urban-trees/new-beckton-park

Anette Lien
New Beckton Park community orchard