FAMILY-RUN FRUIT FARM | COMMUNITY CENTRED
Bringing together people, place & produce for 100 years
More than just an orchard
Our family have tended this very special patch of Herefordshire countryside for over a century, adapting and changing over time. From yeoman beginnings as a small 22-acre fruit farm, our offerings have evolved and expanded as each new generation has taken up the mantle as custodians of this land.
Since 2000, we have been welcoming people to join us at Dragon Orchard for walks and talks, art, music and food events, and many other celebratory occasions. We have cultivated a particular interest in sharing our space, its produce and our connection to local community with other people.
Now, we open our space for people to retreat to. We offer back-to-nature, self-catered holiday stays in our unique, hand-crafted yurts or our newly renovated studio apartment. We host community festivals, organise annual gatherings and invite others to join the various retreats and workshops held throughout the year.
As a family with a deep love of the countryside, we have always been active, enjoying outdoor activities, running, walking and cycling, yoga, dance and movement for wellness. Moving our bodies enables us to really connect to ourselves and to our surroundings, which we find helps to keep us positive and happy.
NORMAN & ANN STANIER
Having met at Devon Outward Bound on the edge of Dartmoor, Norman and Ann have shared travels and adventures, living in the Black Mountains, Minnesota, Alaska, deepest Islington and inner city Birmingham. After a first career in outdoor pursuits, they returned to Norman's family home in 1993, with their young sons, Patrick and Hugh, to help his parents run the farm and build their eco-friendly home, Dragon House, in the middle of the orchard.
They have had to adapt to the ever changing landscapes of fruit farming and diversification. Over the course of their lives, they have set up and run various award-winning businesses. They launched Dragon Orchard Cropsharers in 2001, an early UK Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) scheme, for which Ann received the Country Living Award for Enterprising Rural Women Farm Diversification in 2004. Further development saw them set up a cider production company Once Upon A Tree with good friends, Hannah & Simon Day, winning the BBC Food & Farming Awards Best Drinks Producer in 2012.
Patrick has carved out a successful career over many years as a Stage Manager on productions in the West End & internationally. Having met whilst both working on "Shrek the Musical!", Patrick and Emma were married in the orchard in 2014 and have spent the last few years touring around the world with different productions. Emma is skilled in wardrobe, prop-making and more recently has qualified as a Yin Yoga Teacher.
Whilst still living and working in London, it is wonderful to have their stage and management knowledge and skills on hand for advice and support. Patrick and Emma are masters of setting the scene for your perfect stay.
Hugh is a professionally trained Dancer, and has been working internationally performing and teaching Contemporary Dance and Contact Improvisation (CI) for the last 12 years. When not on tour with Dance companies or teaching CI intensives, he spends significant time in the orchard and is enthusiastically involved in its future development as a place to welcome people to retreat into nature.
Hugh is focused on creating space at the orchard to invite people to disconnect from the hectic pace and stresses of modern living, recharge, and learn more about themselves through connecting to movement in a natural environment. He is also a qualified Tai Chi Movements for Wellbeing (TMW) facilitator.
ABOUT DRAGON ORCHARD
Dragon Orchard includes 5 acres of eating and cooking apples, pears, plums and quince, and 15 acres of bittersweet cider apples. With some open space for larger gatherings alongside our 4 Kune Kune pigs, the orchard provides the ideal backdrop for glamping, workshops and retreats.
This is a 3-acre heritage orchard with 20 varieties of traditional apples, pears, mirabelle plums, greengages and quince. Planted specifically as a creative and artistic space as well as a functioning orchard, these trees were available to be sponsored, with many being bought in memory of loved ones, for special celebrations or simply for the love of apple trees. This orchard was named after Norman’s mother, Dorothy (Babs), to celebrate a lifetime dedicated to the apple farm she loved.
Dorothy’s Orchard is the location for many of the gatherings and workshops that we hold, where marquees, geodesic domes and dancefloor spaces pop up, nestled between the trees. There are avenues to walk along and vistas to enjoy as you absorb the beauty of the orchard.
The Big Hug
A curved straw bale and lime plaster structure with a handmade oak deck and benches is located on the edge of Dorothy’s Orchard. This is a very special place to sit, admire and appreciate the orchard, and Babs made good use of it in her final years.
The Big Hug has been a venue for many different events, including weddings, theatre productions, gigs and celebrations. It is the perfect spot to hold a small event with a sense of containment and immersion in the orchard.