Orchards need people! One of the most important things we have done is to teach people how to care for traditional orchards.
For most of the year the orchards look after themselves but their veteran trees need occasional lopping and pruning to help keep them in good health.
Restoration includes planting new stock as well! We have surveyed the fruits produced by our Traditional Orchard sites and planted new grafted stock of old varieties to replenish or replace old trees.
We’ve offered volunteers in our project orchards the chance to learn from the some of the most experienced orchardists in the region.
We provided all the tools needed and made sure volunteers knew how to use them safely – they just brought along a packed lunch and a sense of humour and orchard owners were generous in providing tea and cake. It was a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy ourselves whilst doing something useful. And as you can see, it wasn’t all hard work!
“I am so thrilled with our replacement trees – local varieties and something I feel really proud about. I have told so many people about them and the stories and history attached to them. It’s given the orchard a future and me a real interest in orchard history.”
Gorsley orchard owner
We’ve managed to restore 34 orchards, large and small, usually for owners who, for whatever reason, can’t manage them themselves and provided advice for many more.
Over 300 people have helped to do this and each orchard restored is a cause for celebration since we’re helping to save our traditional orchard heritage.
As part of our project legacy, we have produced short films and downloadable guides for future use.
“A batch of DNA samples sent to Brogdale for testing showed a match between a Welsh variety – the Welsh Gin – and a tree in Worcestershire, rumoured to be the last Jennet perry pear. It was amicably decided that, since we had roads and farms named after the tree in its locality, it could be claimed by the English. Fourteen new trees have been grafted and generously given to us, so we will be returning them to places named after it. The Welsh Perry and Cider Society ran single variety trials on the Jennet pear and we are reliably informed that it produces a wonderful elderflower tasting perry. What a great end to a bit of orchard detective work!”