The Three Counties Traditional Orchards Project

Are you passionate about orchards? Are you a cider or perry enthusiast or a jam and chutney maker? If so you may be interested in an exciting project which is aiming to restore some of Herefordshire and Worcestershire's traditional orchards.

With their tall fruit trees standing in pasture, traditional orchards are a much loved part of the local landscape. They provide us with glorious blossom in Spring and fruit in Autumn, and they're also fantastic places for wildlife. Sadly though over 60% of our orchards have been lost in recent years, sometimes because of development but often because they have fallen into disuse because there is no commercial value in the fruit, or because there are not the skills or man power to keep them productive.

Now a partnership of organisations* throughout Herefordshire ,Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, has come together to champion and restore neglected traditional orchards. The Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project is funded by the Heritage Lottery and we will be working across all three counties to help save some of those which are left.

We're in a development year at present, gathering information about the orchards and the likely support for the project, but we expect to be able to launch the full project next year so we want to hear from people who'd like to get involved with the project. The project will focus on the areas around Garway, Whitbourne and West of Hereford City in Herefordshire and Alfrick and Suckley, Tenbury Wells and the Vale of Evesham in Worcestershire, so we're particularly keen to hear from you if you live around one of those areas.

We want to find orchard owners who need help with managing their traditional orchard trees and local volunteers willing to be trained in orchard skills who can then help them. We're basing our project on a model which has been used successfully elsewhere, so we're confident that the idea can work.

We've been really pleased at the interest shown so far and we hope that as many people as possible will get involved in some way, either helping to care for the orchards, celebrating them through orchard events, recording orchard history  or producing juice, cider and preserves. So whether you'd like to wield a bow saw, have orchard tales to tell or can pickle plums we'd like to hear from you! Everyone is welcome to get involved and you can give as much or as little time as you like.

The Malvern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership is managing the project and you can contact the Development Officer, Karen Humphries, on 01684 560616 or email her on to find out more.

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