St Ives Community Orchard is a beautiful and inspiring place situated behind the play park and industrial estate on Penbeagle Hill in St Ives. It has views over the sea and the moors and really is a hidden gem.
The orchard is run by volunteers (anyone can come along and help!) headed up by a lovely lady called Elise. She and the amazing team of volunteers have planted over 150 fruit trees and turned what was a unloved, untended patch of land into a wonderful wildlife habitat.
Volunteers and always needed and welcomed. You can go along on one of their work party days (during the Summer months these are every week plus some Sundays, but during the Winter months they do vary). Work involves planting trees, plants and wildflowers, clearing brambles and bracken, clearing pathways, pruning trees, looking after the beehives and helping on the community events days.
No experience is needed to volunteer and you can work at your own pace. Families with children and dogs are more than welcome.
To find out when the days and times are for volunteering check their facebook, or text on 07585 777 110.
The orchard holds regular events, where anyone is welcome to come along. They have had Wassails, Apple Days and Easter Egg Hunts which are all brilliant fun.
There is a hidden space at the back of the orchard where the 3 beehives live.
The first swarm of bees came to live at the orchard in May 2017. It was collected from a house in St Ives. The other 2 swarms were collected in the early Summer of 2017 from swarms from the Towan allotments in St Ives.
The hives are all top bar hives (this means the bees make the comb from the top bars like they would in the wild). The hives were built by Duwayne. They follow the principles of the Natural Beekeeping Trust, which aims to work in harmony with the bees and let them live as much as they can as they would in the wild. The orchard only takes honey from them when they know they have more than enough honey to last them over the Winter. They don’t feed them sugar water and they limit interference as much as possible.
The orchard is planted with many wildflowers and are totally organic. They are creating a wonderful environment for the bees to flourish!
My daughter’s class at school was doing a project on bees and how important they are to the environment. They went up to the orchard where Elise did a lovely talk all about their bees. The children got to see the beehives and lots of bees in action, collecting pollen from the wildflowers all around the orchard.
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