Planted in 1992, Downe Community Orchard has 76 full standard old Kentish variety apples including;
- Bascombe’s Mystery
- Colonel Vaughn,G
- Gooseberry Apple
- Mabbotts Pearmain
- Kentish Fillbasket
- Where can you find it: Rookery Rd, Orpington BR6 7JQ. Entrances on Rookery Rd and North End Lane. A public footpath runs through the orchard. Limited parking on North End Lane.
- Nearest station: Orpington or Bromley and then a bus
- Can I visit: Yes
- Orchard owner & carer: London Borough of Bromley
The site was former allotments; adjacent land to the north was once an orchard. Downe House, where Charles Darwin lived is close by.
Biodiversity highlights & habitat
In 2007, 27 species of lichen were recorded in the orchard. In late 2016 the number of lichen species has increased to 50. Although none of the lichens can be considered rare, some are not common in the London area (Physcia stellaris, Physcia aipolia, Hypogymnia tubulosa and Usnea spp). Six trees have been successfully seeded with mistletoe. This is a habitat for the mistletoe moth. Bromley conservation volunteers have laid hedges bordering the orchard. As the site is seeded with wildflowers such as cowslip and bluebell, the grass is cut once annually.
Community Around the Orchard
Local residents through Downe Village Club and Downe Residents Association are actively involved in maintaining the orchard, from pruning to apple days and harvests, with active support from Bromley Conservation Volunteers through work days supervised by site wardens.