Course: Certificate in Community Orcharding

The Orchard Project

September 2022 - July 2023

Cost: £150 - £600

Sectors: food, farming & horticulture, conservation & wildlife

This unique Level 3 training course, accredited by Crossfields Institute, is now available as a mix of online learning and 6 face-to-face days over 10 months. You will learn from orchard experts, with the flexibility to do most of your learning at home.


Many of our CICO students have moved onto exciting careers in urban food-growing, like managing community gardens, working for organisations in the food sector (including The Orchard Project!), or as professional gardeners/designers.

"Taking the [CICO] course helped me out professionally...After finishing the course, I obtained a job as an Estate Worker in a Hertfordshire park...Being able to talk about the course helped me out in the interview." Gora, CICO3.


This 10-month course is a mix of educational videos, PowerPoint presentations, quizzes and online reading material, in addition to six face-to-face training days - giving you a well-rounded learning experience. Online materials are available all year and are completed at your own pace.

This course will teach you everything you need to know about planting and maintaining a community orchard, including:

  • Site surveys and orchard design
  • Tree planting
  • Pruning (winter and summer)
  • Grafting (spring and summer)
  • Biodiversity, pests and diseases
  • Soil science & boosting soil biodiversity organically
  • Caring for old orchards (including veteran trees)
  • Identifying fruit trees and apple varieties
  • Managing orchards and the groups caring for them
  • ...and more!

You will be able to access the set group of learning materials on our online learning platform a couple of weeks before the course starts, so you can be prepared for the first face-to-face session.

Online materials are unlocked as you make your way through the course. You will be assessed on your knowledge via online quizzes and homework - you can expect a couple of pieces of homework a month. Your practical skills will be assessed on the face-to-face training days.

You’ll also be able to contact tutors and other students so that you’re able to keep on top of things and should allow on average two hours a week to complete all the work.

In this course we will be covering: Unit 1 - Community Orcharding Essentials; Unit 2 - Community Orchard Practice; and Unit 4 - Designing Resilient Community Orchards. Please note Unit 3 - Managing Established Orchards will also be available online to learners. See ‘more about the course content’ for more information on the modules.

Please note it’s similar to doing an A level and you will be assessed on 19 pieces of homework. However, we can be flexible here; e.g. if doing the accreditation is not for you, you can attend without being assessed for the Certificate. Please contact Witchhazel about this.


You must attend all the face-to-face training days to be able to gain the Certificate. These take place on Fridays 10:00-16:00 and held at various locations across Swansea.

  • 30th Sept 2022 - Groupwork
  • 4th November 2022 - Winter pruning 
  • 2nd December 2022 - Tree planting and soil biodiversity
  • 17th February 2023 - Spring grafting and land survey
  • 19th May 2023 - Tree ID, biodiversity, pests and diseases and site design
  • 7th July 2023 - Summer pruning, trained forms and summer budding


£600 (general) - full course & accreditation

£400 (subsidised) - full course & accreditation

£600 (pay by instalments, £100 deposit followed by 10 payments of £50) - full course & accreditation

£150 (Orchard Mentor) - full course & accreditation

Subsidised Places: students, retired on low income, receiving benefits or on a low income (under £17,000 per year).

Orchard Mentors: The Orchard Mentor ticket is for people who have been accepted onto the TOP Swansea Orchard Mentor scheme prior to booking.

Pay-by-instalments: If you wish to pay-by-instalments please contact Witchhazel prior to booking this ticket. The full cost of the course is £600 and you need to pay an initial deposit of £100 then set up a standing order for the remaining £500 as follows - 10 x £50 starting on 1st September payable on 1st of each month.

Please contact Witchhazel Wildwood if you have any other queries: [email protected]

The subsidised and orchard mentor places have been made possible due to funding from the Moondance Foundation.

Find out more