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West Pennard Primary School

Gabriels Orchard

Gabriel’s Orchard at Pilton in Somerset is an orchard in a rural area where orchards encompass much cultural and social history. In 1996 the first discussions were held to consider what might be suitable projects for Pilton’s Millennium celebrations. 

Jim and Anne Dowling very generously donated a couple of acres of land on the edge of the village, which had once been part of Pilton Vineyard – on a south-facing slope and well drained. It was decided that it would be a great opportunity to create a Community Orchard which would seek to preserve the variety of trees which had been important to Somerset and in particular to Pilton itself. The Parish Council are the Custodian Trustees, and day to day management is undertaken by four Managing Trustees.

The orchard consists of older varieties of apple trees. Our aim is to involve volunteers in all aspects of the orchard management and we now set aside the first Saturday morning in the month as a working party to carryout the various jobs that need to be done.

Villagers are encouraged to sponsor a tree in the orchard and the response has been very enthusiastic with nearly a hundred trees now sponsored. 

All in all, creating the Orchard has been great fun. We are all amateurs but nothing succeeds like enthusiasm. No doubt we still have lots to learn and we would encourage anyone to come along and join in.

For those who do not know where the Orchard is, it can be found on the hillside above the A361 just to the west of the village - an easy walk from Parson’s Batch directly across the A361 and then via the swing gate along the public footpath.  Just turn left downhill to the Orchard after the second swing gate and enjoy the views and the space.

This Orchard is one of the village’s public assets run by volunteers.  If you enjoy working in the open air please join the volunteers who meet at the Orchard in the morning on the first Thursday of the month. Further details from Joe King (tel. 890357).


GABRIEL’S ORCHARD, PILTON - its not just for a January Wassail!


Many of us enjoyed the Pilton Wassail held on January 16th. Gabriel's Orchard is there for all of us throughout the whole year. It's a great place for a picnic or some quiet reflection, with beautiful views across

to the Tor. Please do go there whenever you wish.


Do you fancy getting involved? Each month we have a working party when we do the seasonal tasks involved in managing an orchard. At the moment we are pruning the trees. You'll be shown how to do it. Later in the year we will be harvesting the crop, bottling apple juice and making cider.


Our working parties are light-hearted affairs, always involving tea/coffee and biscuits, with some gentle banter. You will be made most welcome. Do come and try it.


For more information contact me on 01749 890357.


Joe King

June 2016


Last month we were informed by Glastonbury Festivals Ltd that the Festival Site is now designated as a construction site and that it was not generally available to dog walkers.


Gabriel's Orchard is an alternative venue to exercise your dog. It is generally well fenced, although the badgers have punched a few holes through the netting, so some care is needed if your dog likes to abscond.


The blossom is now out and the orchard looks very attractive. At the top of the orchard is a seat with excellent views across to the Tor.


If you are not sure as to the best route to the Orchard then do ring me on 890357.


Please remember our delicious Gabriel’s Orchard Apple Juice, £2.30 per bottle. Contact Christine Davies (890009) or Joe King (890357)

Joe King.

Gabriel's Orchard and its volunteers are approaching the busiest period of the Orchard's year. Soon we will be picking the apple crop and then juicing the fruit and producing our delicious bottled apple juice .Later on in the season we will be making cider. If you would like to join in you will be made very welcome.

If you have apples from your garden that you would like to use to produce your own apple juice, we will help you. We supply the equipment, expertise, and bottles plus lids, but we don't do it for you. You have to join in the fun. Please contact us if you fancy having a go.


Joe King 890357.

Gabriel’s Orchard is a Millennium Community Project, maintained by volunteers and open for visitors to enjoy the views and space. With the summer holidays approaching, perhaps villagers would like to take advantage of this public area and even enjoy a family picnic there.



Thinking of picnics and summer parties, Gabriel’s Orchard Apple Juice is for sale at £2.30 per bottle (£2.00 for 6 or more) from Christine Davies (890009) or Joe King (890357).


Access to the Orchard is via Public Footpath No.26 - see the village footpath map in the Parish Church. Starting from the A361 opposite Parson’s Batch and the Old School House, go up the steps and through the swing gate. At the next swing gate turn left downhill to the orchard entrance through another swing gate. Christine Davies