Donkeyfield Orchard

Portobello’s First Community Orchard

basket of applesPortobello’s community orchard is planted and worked by local people. Our aim is to provide a proportion of our own food in a way that is enjoyable, social and environmentally friendly.

The orchard is between Brunstane Road South and Gilberston, just opposite Brunstane Station.

The Orchard group is planting trees, installing furniture, laying paths, maintaining the site, as well as harvesting the fruit. Our monthly work day usually falls on the last Saturday morning of the month.  All are welcome – a job will be found for you, whatever your age and level of fitness.

apple pressingSince 2010, we have planted around 90 fruiting trees including apples, pears, plums and cherries, particularly focusing on a range of unusual, old and local varieties. We are also planting soft fruit bushes such as currants and gooseberries. Trees such as willow and hazel that can be used for coppicing have also been put in.  We have made paths and seating for the area, and an apple tunnel. Ideas for the future include a medicinal herb garden.

We run regular social and celebratory events at the orchard, from mid-summer and mid-winter celebrations to a Hallowee’en party and Apple Day, when we press fruit from the orchard and elsewhere in our own hand press. Keep an eye on this website and look out for posters in Portobello for news on forthcoming events.

We are committed to working with schools and young people to spread skills and appreciation of local food growing and nature, as well as instilling greater ‘ownership’ of the site and reducing the possibility of vandalism. Local school pupils have been involved in creating bespoke ceramic labels for all 90 trees, and we have also given a series of talks in local primary and secondary schools on fruit growing and food miles and demonstrating apple pressing.

Orchard workdays

Location of Orchard

More Orchard photos

Coverage in The Scotsman: Green group plants seed of idea for free orchard

The apple press and crusher are available for local groups and individuals to hire for a small fee. For more information about this, or any enquiries about the orchard, contact the Orchard Group at orchard [at] pedal-porty [dot] org [dot] uk.