Planning and planting a small orchard course

Saturday 30 November 2019 
The course runs from 9.30am to 5pm in Stanmer Park, Brighton.

Learn the basics of fruit tree selection and planting techniques for gardens and small orchards. This course is designed to complement the Care of fruit trees course.

What will the Planning and planting a small orchard course cover?

The day course will cover the basics of how to design a fruit garden or small orchard: soil types, shade, spacing, rootstocks, pollination groups, apple and pear varieties, etc. We will consider growing fruit trees in smaller spaces against a fence or wall as well as in more conventional orchard settings. Companion planting as well as how fruit trees can be integrated into forest gardens will be discussed. We will plant some fruit trees together using techniques and materials which will ensure the best possible start for your trees in a variety of conditions. We will also demonstrate how children and community members can be involved.

Who is the course for?

The course is open to anyone over the age of 16, and no prior knowledge is necessary. It is relevant to anyone planning on planting a few fruit trees in a garden or a small orchard. It is particularly suitable for those interested in engaging children, young people and other community group members in planting fruit trees, perhaps as part of a broader approach to encouraging sustainable food production and healthy eating.

The practical element of the course involves some digging and moderately heavy work, but participants are welcome to join in or not as they see fit. Do dress appropriately, however, as we will not be deterred by poor weather conditions!

Brighton Permaculture Trust aims to meet the needs of participants with physical disabilities and learning difficulties. If you have any issues which you feel may affect your ability to attend or participate in this course, please contact us to discuss them prior to booking.

Learning methods and outcomes

These will include slides, discussions, a practical planting session, and also a guided walk looking at newly planted trees, fence trained trees, established orchards and our apple nursery. By the end of the day, you should have grasped the essentials of how to plan a small orchard for your particular circumstances and feel confident to plant fruit trees.

This course is not accredited, but course participants who complete the entire course will receive a certificate, which will be sent via email after the course.

Course tutors

Bryn Thomas, fruit projects manager for Brighton Permaculture Trust. Particular areas of interest include fruit growing, pruning and forest gardening.

Peter May, a horticulturalist who is jointly responsible for the management of several community orchards and runs regular courses for Brighton Permaculture Trust and Plumpton Agricultural College on a range of orchard skills. He is co-author of Apples & Orchards in Sussex and has propagated over a thousand Sussex apple trees.


Stanmer Park (near University of Sussex)
South East England

Get directions to Stanmer Park.

If you intend to book accommodation, please check availability before booking a place, as accommodation in Brighton can be hard to find, especially over the summer months.

Get details on local accommodation and Brighton Permaculture Trust supporters who can provide accommodation in their homes.


Fees include tuition, refreshments, handouts and information sheets.

  • £175 - Sponsored/organisation rate
  • £175 - Individual income more than 25k/yr
  • £140 - Individual income 18-25k/yr
  • £105 - Individual income less than 18k/yr
  • £35 - Individual, concessionary rate (check eligibility)*

* Concessionary places are limited. If places are not available check back two weeks before the course/event as more may be available then.

We endeavour to make our courses and events affordable to all. Unfortunately, we do not receive any external funding for most of these and rely on large amounts of voluntary input.

See the cancellations and refunds policy.

Booking the Planning and planting a small orchard course

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  • Patricia
    "[The tutors were] very enthusiastic about their field and sharing their expertise. Good pace and opportunities to ask questions. Loved the hands on practical work."


  • Elaine
    "A great day with a very well balanced mix of solid facts, earthy wisdom and practical exercises."


  • Lucinda
    "It was great that the course was subsidised for members of community groups keen to set up an orchard, for example. [I enjoyed] having the opportunity to plant a tree and to be shown how to give the trees the best start to grow strong and healthy."

    Lucinda Hawkes

  • Katy
    "[I enjoyed the] mixture of practical work and information. It has inspired us to have an apple day with the planting of our trees and cooking, too."

    Katy Willis

  • Mary
    "I think the combination of tutors/practitioners each coming from their own particular yet related angle made for a course of rich and complementary content."

    Mary Steel

  • John
    "A good balance of talks and demonstrations."

    John Myerson

What does this course lead on to?

Related courses and events that may be of interest to course participants: