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
Orchards need people to keep them healthy and productive and that’s where the Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project can help.
Working with local experts we’re training volunteers in practical orchard skills and helping them to improve local orchards for wildlife and discover the role they have played over the centuries.
We’re on course to restore 40 traditional orchards in key orchard areas and we need volunteers to help us do it. We’re in our third year of the project now but there’s still time to join our growing network of orchard volunteers and help to keep our traditional orchards as part of the Three Counties landscape.
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 ! We’re piloting a new idea – orchard training and support for tree wardens, setting up a Worcestershire Mother Orchard, looking at the problem of excess fruit, running another Orchard Champions course and putting together a programme of advanced training. We’re aiming high !