Newquay Orchard is a beautiful seven-acre community space for people and nature. Designed to provide environmental education, employability training and community events, the Orchard is an open green space welcome to everyone. Newquay Orchard brings to life the aims of the Duchy’s sustainability strategy and all that makes Nansledan such a special place to live and work.
Newquay’s ‘not so secret garden’ can be found on Duchy land on the western edge of Nansledan. The community-led project is part of a network of green spaces throughout the new development and will bridge the old town and the new.
The Orchard is the flagship project run by community interest company (CIC), Urban Biodiversity. Urban Biodiversity has a simple aim: to reduce social deprivation. They are successfully achieving this by working with local communities to create high quality, low impact, environmental urban spaces as a platform for sustainable economic growth.
Built by the community, for the community, Newquay Orchard provides a place for local people to grow, learn and play in nature. The site is always open, and everyone is welcome. Just a patch of land six years ago, the urban greenspace has now flourished into a centre for culture, education and collaboration.
Visitors can explore three acres of young Cornish apple orchard, picnic in the community field and forage for herbs in the forest garden. Amble along the beautiful fruit espalier, see what’s growing in the An Lowarth community grow space and play hide and seek in the long grasses of the woodland walk. Nature lovers will be able to spot bees in the lavender, rabbits hopping along the Cornish stone hedge and might even spy the resident kestrel as she soars high above.
The success of Newquay Orchard, since its conception and initial funding in January 2015, is testament to the community of passionate volunteers. They have inspired the Orchard’s slogan ‘built by the community, for the community.’ Throughout the past six years Newquay Orchard has worked with over 700 volunteers, bringing people from all walks of life together on common soil.
The project gives people the opportunity to share their time and skills. It empowers individuals by teaching them about horticulture and giving them the chance to meet new people and make lasting friendships. Moving around outdoors in the fresh air also has significant benefits for peoples’ physical and mental wellbeing and we see this positive impact every day.
A fresh approach to living and learning
Sustainable Lives is the flagship social innovation programme based at Newquay Orchard. Developed for people who are currently out of work or taking the first gentle steps back into work or training, the project offers people hands-on experience in gardening, growing and outdoor cooking, construction, natural crafts and conservation projects.
Sustainable Lives focusses on helping individuals understand and develop areas of their life in sustainable ways; from improving their physical and mental health, to thinking about their personal future and the future of our planet. Participants explore local and global sustainability whilst developing their skills, wellbeing and confidence.
Canteen at the Orchard and the Market Garden
Everyone who volunteers their time at Newquay Orchard receives a free healthy lunch from Canteen at the Orchard, based in the Kowel Gwenen community building. Ingredients used in the lunches are planted, cared for and freshly picked from the Market Garden by the volunteers and Newquay Orchard staff. The Market Garden is now a community supported agriculture scheme (CSA) meaning volunteers benefit from their work by taking home a jute bag of fresh produce each week too.
An outdoor classroom
Education at Newquay Orchard makes learning accessible for everyone in its outdoor space. The Growing Futures education programme and traineeships at Newquay Orchard focus on practical outdoor skills and employability qualifications to help people take steps into the workplace. The courses give an excellent blend of industry leading expertise in sustainable horticulture and sustainability, alongside real-life work experience with Urban Biodiversity’s commercial landscaping team at Nansledan.
A hive of activity: Kowel Gwenen
Newquay Orchard’s community building opened in spring 2021 and has become a centre for culture, education and collaboration. Home to Canteen at the Orchard, the Kowel Gwenen Co-workspace, an annual art exhibition and the Newquay Orchard team, this community hub is a flourishing example of how a community can come together to collaborate, co-work and create.
Kowel Gwenen is Cornish for ‘Beehive’ – the inspiration behind the building’s architecture, paying homage to nature’s hardest worker, the humble bee. The space also provides a stage to performers, a dining table to friends and families, a place where community groups can convene, a desk space for creatives, freelancers and start-ups. It’s a place for everyone.
Setting the stage: the performance terraces
In 2021 Newquay Orchard also unveiled new Cornish stone terraces which can seat upwards of 500 people. This brand-new venue in Cornwall is one of the biggest seated open air performance spaces in the county and offers local people the opportunity to experience live music and theatre in an inspiring environment.