Wick Home Orchard is the third of the group of orchards which surround Wick Court and it is believed to have been established before 1725.
The Perry Pears in the Wick orchards are very old – they can live for over 400 years and still carry a crop, although nobody knows exactly how long they will actually survive.
In the Home Orchard is a group of ‘red’ Perry pears, also known locally as ‘beetroot’ pears, due to the red juice they produce. It is said that these Perry pears were brought down the canal by lighter men on their flat bottomed barges, either as root stocks or seedlings. The history of many of these local orchards is closely tied to nearby waterways for moving trees and fruit.
Perry Pears are often found in old Gloucestershire Orchards but to produce ‘true’ Perry orchards should hail from around May Hill where legend has it the first Perry Pear trees grew. Beetroot pears do not make good Perry, and so they have in turn been grafted over with Old Field, a variety which was very fashionable at one stage as it produced the best bottled Perry.
Previous work carried out on the Perry Pear trees was not done well so the trees don’t look as good as they should. Someone cut the tops off at some stage in the past. Since the trees are so tall it’s difficult for volunteers to work on them, even with our longest ladders, so we’ve concentrated on simply making them safe.