St Michael’s Community Orchard Haselbury Plucknett


By establishing the Community Orchard it was hoped that it could be:

  • a resource to support community spirit and village life in Haselbury Plucknett
  • a place for a traditional Somerset environment with standard apple trees and other fruit trees. We will use local varieties wherever possible, celebrating our local heritage
  • a community initiative which can provide an income stream for St Michael’s Church, as the Glebe Field is entrusted to do
  • a chance to promote other activities within the orchard – such as bee keeping, grazing
  • a project that will enhance the landscape in an environmentally sensitive way, that will benefit the whole community
    something that will provide a focus for community activity for people of all ages.

And so it has proved to be.

Regular maintenance mornings bring villagers together.  We wassail our trees every year, for which they thank us with plentiful crops. The orchard has provided a pleasant setting for national celebrations such as our late Queen’s Jubilee and the forthcoming coronation of His Majesty King Charles III.


Since it began operating in October 2012

The first social event for members was a Saturday of apple picking and cider making on 20 October. The second social event, which was open to non-members as well, was “Appletalk” on Saturday 24 November with two of Somerset’s best known apple experts. Julian Temperley runs Buroow Hill Cider and the Somerset Cider Brandy Company. He is one of the country’s best known cider makers and his cider brandy has won countless awards. Jonathan Hoskyns of North Perrott Fruit Farm needs no introduction in our area. For more details see the EVENTS page on this website. The evening will give an opportunity to begin choosing types of trees to plant in the orchard. If you want to be involved, come along. The event was well attended and proved extremely informative and enjoyable. Enough money was raised to buy the first 20-30 trees that winter.

People were invited to make apple chutney following a recipe by Mollie Rendell, a well-known local resident and benefactor of the village, who has written a history of Haselbury Plucknett and is the grandmother of Orchard Chairman Matthew Bryant.

Mollie Rendell’s Somerset Apple Chutney

Ingredients (makes about 4 lbs)
1 lb onions
1/2 pint spiced vinegar
2 lbs apples (after peeling and coring)
4 oz sultanas
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
12 oz sugar (can be brown if preferred)

1. Peel and finely chop onions and put into saucepan with 1/8 pint vinegar and simmer until nearly soft.
2. Chop apples and add to pan with sultanas, salt, ground ginger and just enough vinegar to stop the mixture burning.
3. Cook gently, stirring from time to time, until fruit is soft
4. Add the rest of the vinegar and thoroughly stir in the sugar. Bring to the boil and boil steadily until the chutney is thick.
5. Pour chutney into clean, warm jars and seal. Can be used immediately, but will improve with keeping.

Jars of this delicious chutney were available at the first social event the following summer: a well attended family picnic in the orchard. It turned out to be a rather windy day, but everyone found it most enjoyable

If you would like to join the mailing list for community orchard events (including maintenance mornings) please contact Matthew Bryant by e-mail: