The owner of this orchard has grown plums for many years, specialising in local and often rare varieties. Anyone who has tasted a fresh plum in summer from the tree will know that they are very different from the often hard and tasteless plums we get year round in the supermarkets.
The orchard is in two halves and has become rather overgrown, with many of the trees nearing the end of their productive life.
Plum pox is a huge problem at present and has been the cause of many plum producers struggling to provide a good crop. This is the case here and it may be that in the future plum orchards like this one will become a rare sight.We are hoping that restoration work can take place in this orchard, helping to keep the remaining trees as healthy as possible, by removing diseased wood and letting in more light and air where the trees are too close together.
The orchard is a haven for wildlife – while we were visiting a little owl was perched on the fence nearby. A campaign to save the endangered little owl is currently under way; this little bird loves orchards so this may be an ideal location for a little owl nest box, with volunteers monitoring it to see how many chicks fledge. Our wildlife surveys show that many of our orchards support an amazing range of birdlife.
All the work here will be carried out by TCTOP volunteers under the watchful eye of Gloucestershire Orchard Trust mentors. We have been really keen to support orchard owners with an interest in local varieties and the family who own this orchard have been growing local plum varieties for several generations.We hope they can carry on growing them and that the orchard and our local plums are still there for future generations.