One third of all the traditional orchards in the UK are in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire – just 94 precious square miles – and we’ve been working hard to restore, improve, understand and enjoy them.

The Three Counties orchards

Traditional orchards, with their tall trees standing in pasture, are a much loved part of our landscape in the Three Counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

Today though the picture is somewhat different: over 80% of our traditional orchards have vanished locally as farming practices have changed and land has been cleared or developed.

As orchards are lost, so too are local fruit varieties and our skills in looking after them.  As a result, those orchards which remain are often under-used or unmanaged.

Orchards need people

Orchards need people to keep them healthy and productive.
  • Working with local experts we’ve trained volunteers in practical skills to restore orchards.
  • We have helped them to improve local orchards for wildlife and understand the role they have played in our local communities over the centuries.
  • Most of all, we’ve taken time to enjoy their trees, environment and produce with our friends.

We’re still going strong!

We’re at a strange place in the project. Our practical work is complete and we’ve met almost all of the targets which the Heritage Lottery set for us, but that doesn’t mean that we’re slowing down. Far from it!

In the last few months we’re piloting a new idea – orchard training and support for tree wardens, setting up a Worcestershire  ‘Mother’ Orchard to safeguard Worcestershire’s local varieties, as well as looking at ways to use excess fruit, running another Orchard Champions course and putting together a programme of advanced training. We’re aiming high!