This amazing orchard sits on the side of a steep valley in Whitbourne – on the border of Worcestershire and Herefordshire. Whitbourne is known to have mediaeval origins and on a clear winters day you can see the mediaeval terraces cut into the hillside opposite. A trench cut close to the orchard showed remains in the orchards, which vanished where they met ploughed land disturbed land. What are our orchards hiding under their feet?
The owner of this orchard is no longer able to manage it properly but would like it to remain as an orchard. It is grazed by a local grazier so we have had to make sure it is both sheep friendly and sheep proof ! We have also persuaded her to leave standing dead wood where possible – tempting though it is to chop it up for the wood burner. A wildlife survey showed that the orchard is really good for nature.
Two of our orchard champions live in the village and they have helped to recruit local people to help with several of our orchards in the area – including this one. It is a challenge to work in because it is so steep and ,although next to the road, has restricted access . So far though we’ve been able to make some of the trees safe and to prune others to keep them healthy.
We’ve also had some excellent help from students from Wildgoose Rural Training. They’ve been working towards an ABC qualification in looking after orchards and have helped with planting out new young trees of some of our less common local varieties. All the young trees are thriving and well protected so we’re helping to make sure this orchard has a bright future.