You might think of pumpkins when it comes to autumn, and we have those in buckets, but the humble apple also comes into its own during this season. A staple in any household, it may feel a little mundane to shout about apples, but they’re a hidden gem of British nature and deserve a bit of attention when they come into season. We’ve plenty of apple picking opportunities and gorgeous orchards in and around Manchester, so here’s just a few.
1. Mersey Vale Nature Park Community Orchard, Stockport
Mersey Vale Nature Park in Manchester is a wonderful destination any day of the week, with two ponds with dipping platforms, a wildflower meadow and one of the city’s traditional community-run orchards, with apple picking in abundance. Although fruit picking isn’t a structured activity at the Manchester orchard, the public is welcome to wander through the trees, taking in what nature has to offer, and pick the tasty apples for themselves, free of charge.
Visitors are encouraged to help protect the natural environment by following the countryside code, which includes following signs and instructions, but the aim of the local nature reserve and Site of Biological Importance is to educate and support locals in eating healthily and understanding the importance of local produce. This is more of an informal fruit picking experience, but the traditional apples are well worth searching for this autumn.
🚗 30mins drive from Manchester city centre
📍 Mersey Vale Nature Park, Battersea Rd, Stockport, SK4 2BN.
2. Woore Fruit Farm, Crewe
Boasting lots of fruit throughout the year, Woore Fruit Farm is bursting at the seams with apples in the autumn time. Opening times vary depending on the ripeness and availability of the crops, so keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates if you fancy filling your boots with a Golden Delicious or two. Woore Fruit Farm suggests that you give them a call before travelling to check the latest opening times and availability, on 01630 647042.
🚗 1hr 30mins drive from Manchester city centre
📍 Woore Fruit Farm, Newcastle Rd, Woore, Crewe, CW3 9RE.
3. Dunham Apple Barn, Altrincham
The beautiful Dunham Massey is an absolute outdoorsy staple for the people of Greater Manchester, and of course it has its very own orchard and apple barn. Although the orchard is professionally run, meaning pick-your-own isn’t always an option, you can reap the rewards to no end in the barn, where the cafe bar offers the apples in juice and cider form. There’s also tea, coffee and cake on offer, and events take place within the orchard all year round, so keep an eye on the Instagram account for apple activities.
🚗 40 min drive from Manchester city centre
📍 Dunham Apples and The Apple Barn, Sawpit St, Dunham Massey, Altrincham WA14 5SJ.
4. Apple Day at Tatton Park Orchards, Knutsford
Tatton Park hosts a scrumptious weekend at the Farm and in the Gardens to celebrate the wonderful apple. Join in games and children’s activities and taste delicious varieties from Tatton’s historic orchards, with apple goods on sale in the shops and restaurants. Apple Day takes place this year on September 30 – October 1.
All year round, the walled orchard contains varieties of fruit which are known to have been grown in Cheshire during the Edwardian period. Apples, pears, plums, gages and cherries are all present in various forms, including the apple varieties ‘Charles Ross’, ‘Rival’ and ‘Renown’ and a large variety of northern and Cheshire cultivars. The orchard is there to be admired by the public, and events throughout the year offer produce in one way or another, so keep an eye on the website.
🚗 45 min drive from Manchester city centre
📍Tatton Park, Knutsford WA16 6SG.
5. Salford Community Orchards
Greater Manchester initiative City of Trees has ensured local communities have orchards to be proud of, in several areas, but most notably Salford. These are as follows: Parkway, Little Hulton; Parr Fold Park, Walkden; Walkden High School; Lightbourne Green, Swinton; Lightoaks Park, Claremont; Riverbank Park, Kersal; Albert Park, Broughton; Green Grosvenor Park, Broughton; Ordsall Allotments, Ordsall; Monmouth Park, Ordsall and Fairhills Road, Irlam.
These orchards are for the communities to enjoy, the fruits of which are free to pick and scoff. You can find your nearest orchard, and news on local tree planting, here and get picking.
🚗 10 – 40 min drive from Manchester city centre
You’ll notice an abundance of community orchards in Greater Manchester – to find out how you can get involved, or find your nearest initiative, visit the Groundwork website.