10 years of Fruit Routes – Loughborough University

“There’s something so simple and so powerfully celebratory about this project. I have no doubt that it will continue to prosper and grow for many years to come”

 – Jonathan Porritt CBE

BCA Landscape are proud to be associated with the Loughborough University ‘Fruit Routes’ – project a unique art installation made up of over 150 trees and other edible plants providing an enriched habitat for people, plants, insects and animals, as well as a location for cultural activities and outdoor learning.

The concept, developed through a collaboration between artist Anne-Marie Culhane, the University Sustainability Manager and BCA Landscape, was to plant fruit, nut trees and edible plants along footpaths and cycle paths across the university campus creating a spring snowfall of blossom and an autumnal abundance of fresh fruits and berries for harvesting, eating and distributing. 

Over the last 10 years the project has become a great example of a Living Lab project with partnerships in the Design School, School of the Arts and Architecture Schools and also brings in members of the local community to participate in University life.

The project was funded by the University Estates & Facilities Management Service in line with the Biodiversity Action Plan and is managed by the Sustainability Manager at Loughborough University. It began life as a proposal for RADAR’s Building Green season in 2010.

The first trees were planted in 2012 following plans, details and specifications prepared by BCA landscape.  From there it has gone from strength to strength thanks to exemplary maintenance and governance by the University.

Fruit Routes has been recognised as an award-winning project by the Guardian Higher Education Sustainability Award in 2014, was a finalist in the 2013 and 2019 Green Gowns awards for Social Responsibility and Benefitting Society categories. and a facilitated workshop at the 2013 EAUC Conference.  It was also awarded a highly commended in the Association of University Directors AUDE Reaching Higher category in 2019.

The University hosts an annual harvest event and campus apple ‘Bake-Off’ as part of this, providing recipes ideas, a fruit foraging map

The project has now been passed into the care of a Steering Group made up of staff, students and local people, which should ensure it’s continued contribution for future cohorts of staff and students at the University.

Find out more about the project here