Great Canal Orchard

We're working with the community to create a record-breaking orchard. Stretching 50-miles along the region’s canal network and made up of 3,000 trees providing free fruit for people and wildlife, the community orchard will be the longest in the world.

The orchard will stretch from Wolverhampton to Worcester, passing through Birmingham – along the Staffordshire & Worcestershire, Old Main Line, and Worcestershire & Birmingham canals.

Working with local community volunteers, for what is expected to be a ten-year project, the orchard will be planted with a wide variety of fruit trees such as cherry, plum, apple, and pear. 

Rare varieties

It will also plant rare historic varieties such as the Tettenhall Dick Pear which originates from the Black Country but was almost a completely lost variety, and exotic species such as peach, apricots, figs, persimmon, loquats, and pomegranates to take account of the warming climate.

Once planted we'll need people to help care for the trees, to ensure they establish through the early years, produce fruit, and are used as a resource by the community.

The city locations have already had species from around the world planted and the Trust has been gifted eight Kazakhstan apple trees – known as the mother from which all modern-day apples have derived from - from Alys Fowler, the well-known gardening writer and celebrity.

The trees will be planted at the back of our towpaths and will be used to fill in gaps to re-establish hedgerows and used to create a series of pocket orchards on adjoining land of between 10 and 300 trees.

Harvesting

Fruit trees along canals isn’t a new idea – the original boat families of the Industrial Revolution harvested the fruit as they moved goods and materials to fuel the Industrial Revolution.  And 200 years on, at the end of the summer, boaters and local people will be encouraged to have an urban fruit celebration day, help harvest the fruit and take home what they pick to create homemade locally grown treats.

Last date edited: 21 June 2022