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The Orchard

For all the latest updates on our ongoing orchard regeneration project, please visit the news page.

Perhaps originally part of orchards and farmland in the area, by the late 1870s the Devonshire Place orchard was part of the extensive grounds of Edgerton House in Pennsylvania Road. The estate's Lodge is still there on the corner of Edgerton Park Road. At the beginning of the 19th Century the house became Edgerton School for ladies, lasting for 70 years until it closed in 1968.

Then sold at auction it became the Edgerton Park Hotel around 1970 until it ceased trading almost 10 years later. That was when a protest fought to save the orchard as an open space. There are interesting pieces on the protest from October 1971 and September 1980 editions of the Express and Echo and the Exeter Weekly News (links below).

Quick links
Orchard protest 19th October 1971 (Express & Echo) >>
Orchard protest 19th September 1980 (Express & Echo) >>
Orchard protest 26th September 1980 (Exeter Weekly News)

The ownership transferred from Devon County Council to Exeter City Council who still manage it today.

The orchard protest of 1980protest of 1980










May 2012
The DPRA now own copies of two photographs of the Devonshire Place Orchard taken in 1989 by James Ravilious. These were recorded and commissioned for publication by 'Common Ground' as part of records of surviving orchards in England. See the website of England in Particular, where it is described it as a community orchard:

'An apple orchard at Devonshire Place park owned by Exeter City Council. About six old apple trees survive in half of a small city park. Several trees have been lost since the late 1990s but six new apple trees have been planted in the grassed area behind. The other half of the park has a seating area, play area, and a grassed area used for football. The park is surrounded by housing. Contact: Parks Department, Exeter City Council, Community Services, Civic Centre, Paris Street , Exeter EX1 1RQ , 01392 262638.

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Orchard clear up March 2013
Brandishing a range of cutting tools kindly loaned by Exeter City Council, a group of DPRA members and university students spent a Saturday morning in March clearing up the far corner of the orchard. Dense foliage hid discarded beer cans, bottles and several syringes but a few hours of hacking and clearing made a big difference, as can be seen from the photos below, each of which can be enlarged by clicking on them.





May Day 2013 gathering a great success
The DPRA's May day gathering was blessed with warm, sunny weather and Peter and Dorinda's kindness in making their delighful garden available for the day ensured the event's success. Residents from Devonshire Place and Kingsgate enjoyed delicious home made cakes and freshly cooked barbecue food, browsed bulging tables of books, CDs and plants and sampled the delights of the DPRA singers. All was in aid of the association's bid to acquire a family bench for the orchard and the money raised (just under £200.00) brings the bench a step closer. Whether or not you were able to join in the fun on the day, you can view photos in the May Day photo gallery (click to view).




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The Devonshire Place Residents' Association 2017