Thatchers launch community orchard project

COMMUNITY groups and charities keen to plant or extend community orchards this spring can apply for help from Somerset-based Thatchers Cider.

The Somerset cider-maker’s Community Orchard Project is being launched this month, with 250 apple trees to be donated to groups either undertaking new planting this year, or looking to extend a community orchard they already have.

The project was first run in 2021, when Thatchers gave away 120 apple trees to community groups up and down the country. The family-run cider-maker is now doubling the number of apple trees it donates, meaning more groups will be able to benefit.

Martin Thatcher, fourth generation cider maker, says: “In the year of the Queen’s Green Canopy campaign, all eyes are on planting trees. It’s so important to keep planting not just for the environment around us, but for people to enjoy and benefit from. We’re taking part ourselves in the Queen’s Green Canopy campaign, and we hope that getting involved in our Community Orchard Project will help encourage others to do the same.”

Thatchers is looking for groups, large or small, schools, care homes, communities, who would benefit from growing apple trees, to take part in this project, and is encouraging people to apply via its website.

The closing date for applications is 18th February – go on to the Thatchers website and explain why planting trees will be beneficial for the applicant’s community.

Thatchers has chosen the varieties of apple trees to be donated to the groups very carefully. Either eating apples or cider apples, all are easy to grow take care of – varieties include Katy, Yarlington Mill and Spartan. Thatchers will provide stakes, guards and ties to assist in planting, as well as detailed instructions on how to plant a tree.

“Community spaces that include trees and orchards are so important for people’s wellbeing,” says Martin. “Whether it’s groups of trees within residential areas,  a rewilding project, or perhaps a school environmental project, we’re really excited to be launching this initiative for the second year and to be able to help people plant trees in 2022.”

For more information and how to apply, visit