The Three Counties orchards
Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire have long been famous for their orchards. Traditional orchards, with their tall trees standing in pasture, are a much loved part of our three counties landscape.
Today though the picture is somewhat different; many orchards have disappeared and most of those which remain are under used or unmanaged.
Over 80% of our traditional orchards have vanished locally as farming practices have changed and land has been cleared or developed. Local fruit varieties have been lost too, as have our skills in looking after them.
Orchards need people
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, use and celebrate them.
Orchards need people to keep them healthy and productive. Working with local experts we’ve trained volunteers in practical orchard skills and have helped them to improve local orchards for wildlife and discover the role they have played in our local communities over the centuries. And we’ve also taken time to enjoy them. This website will show you what we’ve done and the difference we’ve made.
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 !