The TCTOP story began in 2011 when groups with an interest in traditional orchards met together to see what could be done to halt their decline.
It soon became clear that grant schemes used in the past to restore traditional orchards had not really worked. Using contractors to carry out orchard work had only provided short term benefits and , in addition, there was a real shortage of people with specialist orchard skills.
The TCTOP group decided to try a different approach – focussing on just a few areas and involving the owners and local people in the restoration, so that the skills and knowledge needed would stay in the community.
They took their inspiration from the Colwall Orchard Group, which began with two enthusiasts who wanted to save the village’s unique orchard landscape. They persuaded local orchard owners to let them help manage and restore their orchards and trained local people to help them do it. Six years on they have over a hundred members and look after 30 orchards.
The TCTOP group drew together proposals for a project based on this idea and submitted it to the Heritage Lottery, getting approval for development funding. In 2014 they submitted their full proposals to HLF and were delighted to be awarded a grant of £340,000 for a project covering eight key orchard areas across the Three Counties.
Work got underway in 2015 and the project is making good progress thanks to a committed group of expert orchardists and our growing network of enthusiastic volunteers.
We are working in:
Gorsley, Kilcot and Longney in Gloucestershire
Whitbourne, Breinton and Ross on Wye in Herefordshire
Rochford & Tenbury, Evesham, Pershore and Alfrick in Worcestershire
We’d especially like to hear from you if you live near one of these areas, but anyone can get involved. The project runs until November 2017.