Donkeyfield Orchard

Portobello’s First Community Orchard

basket of applesPortobello’s com­munity orch­ard is planted and worked by loc­al people. Our aim is to provide a pro­por­tion of our own food in a way that is enjoy­able, social and envir­on­ment­ally friendly.

The orch­ard is between Brunstane Road South and Gilberston, just oppos­ite Brunstane Station.

The Orchard group is plant­ing trees, installing fur­niture, lay­ing paths, main­tain­ing the site, as well as har­vest­ing the fruit. Our monthly work day usu­ally falls on the last Saturday morn­ing of the month.  All are wel­come — a job will be found for you, whatever your age and level of fitness.

apple pressingSince 2010, we have planted around 90 fruit­ing trees includ­ing apples, pears, plums and cher­ries, par­tic­u­larly focus­ing on a range of unusu­al, old and loc­al vari­et­ies. We are also plant­ing soft fruit bushes such as cur­rants and goose­ber­ries. Trees such as wil­low and hazel that can be used for cop­picing have also been put in.  We have made paths and seat­ing for the area, and an apple tun­nel. Ideas for the future include a medi­cin­al herb garden.

We run reg­u­lar social and cel­eb­rat­ory events at the orch­ard, from mid-sum­mer and mid-winter cel­eb­ra­tions to a Hallowee’en party and Apple Day, when we press fruit from the orch­ard and else­where in our own hand press. Keep an eye on this web­site and look out for posters in Portobello for news on forth­com­ing events.

We are com­mit­ted to work­ing with schools and young people to spread skills and appre­ci­ation of loc­al food grow­ing and nature, as well as instilling great­er ‘own­er­ship’ of the site and redu­cing the pos­sib­il­ity of van­dal­ism. Local school pupils have been involved in cre­at­ing bespoke ceram­ic labels for all 90 trees, and we have also giv­en a series of talks in loc­al primary and sec­ond­ary schools on fruit grow­ing and food miles and demon­strat­ing apple pressing.

Orchard work­days

Location of Orchard

More Orchard photos

Coverage in The Scotsman: Green group plants seed of idea for free orchard

The apple press and crush­er are avail­able for loc­al groups and indi­vidu­als to hire for a small fee. For more inform­a­tion about this, or any enquir­ies about the orch­ard, con­tact the Orchard Group at