On Tuesday 19th July 2022, Newquay Orchard welcomed His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cornwall, to see how the project has grown over the last 7 years and meet some of the people instrumental in its creation.
The Orchard sits on seven-acres of land owned by the Duchy and is an important part of the new Duchy’s Nansledan development. The Orchard demonstrates the sustainable practices that are at the heart of His Royal Highness’s vision for Nansledan and sustainable development more generally.
The Orchard is run by community interest company (CIC), Urban Biodiversity and the space is designed to provide environmental education, employability training and community events. The Orchard is an open green space that welcomes everyone.
His Royal Highness was met at the entrance by Newquay Orchard CEO, Luke Berkeley, who led the tour around the greenspace.
The tour took him into Kreft, the new Maker Space, where he was presented with a beautiful bird box, made from recycled wood and decorated using the high-tech laser cutter in the new digital workshop. The tour progressed on to the Orchard’s grow spaces, where the Prince spoke to volunteers about their experiences volunteering at Newquay Orchard.
Hetty Ninnis, Sustainable Landscapes Manager, welcomed HRH into An Lowarth where he was offered a taste of homegrown mangetout and chatted with those harvesting the produce.
Hetty said: “Our volunteers have worked so hard to create the Orchard, which looked so beautiful in the sunshine for HRH’s visit.”
“It was wonderful that he was able to see and experience the Orchard’s mission in practice amongst the herbs and the chard – to be the best community green space in the UK.”
HRH first visited in 2014, when the space was a simple low value agricultural field of just grass and little other biodiversity. Now, thanks to the passion and dedication of over 850 volunteers, Newquay Orchard is a thriving community space for all, with an abundance of nature.
Luke Berkeley said: “This was a huge moment for our community; we are immensely proud of what we’ve come together to build on land that the Duchy have entrusted us with. To be able to show HRH the space was a real honour.”
Rory Bendle, one of the longest serving volunteers at the Orchard, was delighted to be able to tell HRH of his experience being a part of the ‘Orchard family.’ Rory has volunteered at Newquay Orchard for 5 years, graduated from the Orchard’s education programme and is now employed by the Greenest Clean who hold the cleaning contract at the Orchard.
Rory said: “I couldn’t believe it – one moment I was harvesting in the Market Garden and the next I was shaking hands with The Prince himself.’
‘I’m so happy I was able to share with His Royal Highness what Newquay Orchard has done for me and how proud I am to be a part of this family. What a day!”
Following a tour of the growing spaces and the Orchard, HRH followed the accessible path through the community field to Kowel Gwenen, the community building which houses Canteen at the Orchard, the co-workspace and the Orchard team’s own offices.
This year has been an award-winning year for the Orchard. In June, Newquay Orchard received the Queen’s Award for Volunteering, one of the highest honours in the country for the third sector. In addition, the organisation was awarded the Green Flag scheme for community parks for the sixth year running and won a Cornwall Sustainability Award for the second time.
Luke concluded: “I’d like to once more thank our community who helped create this space and build something for us and for future generations in Cornwall.”
“The smiles and the energy that we felt were testament to all that work – and HRH’s smile said it all.”