Nothing says south west England more than the cheerful orchard but did you know orchards are an important habitat under threat? Aside from the tasty apples, orchards can support a wide range of wildlife because they’re a combination of open woodland and meadow. Furthermore, as fruit trees age quickly, they create the perfect habitats for invertebrates and birds, some of which are rare, such as the lesser spotted woodpecker and the noble chafer beetle.
Explore the links below to find the best ways to enhance your orchard for wildlife and how to create a new orchard the wildlife-friendly way.
Creating and restoring orchards
- Restoration of old orchards: The orchard project – restoring old orchards
- Orchard planting or restoration
- Planning and Designing an Orchard: The Orchard Project – What to look out for when planning an orchard
- Selecting varieties: Devon Apples – a directory of native apple varieties with full descriptions and information on growing and using named apples.
- Buying trees: Adam’s apples is one of the main fruit tree growers in Devon
- Pruning veteran trees: The Orchard Project – Pruning veteran trees
- Planting your orchard: The Orchard Project – Planting trees
- Helping young trees establish: The Orchard Project – Helping young trees establish in summer
- Making leaf mould: The Orchard Project – Making leaf mould
- Grafting: The Orchard Project – How to graft fruit trees
- Pruning: The Orchard Project – How to Prune fruit trees
- Growing fruit in containers: The Orchard Project – Growing fruit in containers
- Community Apple pressing: The Orchard Project – Community apple pressing
Joining existing orchard projects
- Orchard Link – a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organisation run by and for orchard, apple and cider enthusiasts in south Devon. Orchard Link offers members technical advice, a programme of events, courses and activities, and makes key items of equipment available for hire. They also provide a space where apple growers can offer or sell surplus apples: Harvestline and you can find your nearest community orchard in South Devon
- Orchards Live – set up to save orchards in North Devon and Exmoor. The group runs courses, talks and visits so that in a two-year cycle all aspects of ‘standard’ orchard management are covered. They have been active in locating old fruit varieties for propagation and are developing www.devon-apples.co.uk as the county-wide source of technical information and Devon’s Pomona listing all locally-grown apple varieties. The group has acquired cider and juice making kit and other equipment for members to use. They are looking at ways to ensure that orchard products find markets and are used well and are working with other bodies in the region to encourage orchards.
- Plymouth Community Orchards Network – A partnership of organisations working together for the conservation and management of community orchards in the City of Plymouth. Plymouth City Council and Plymouth Community Homes, along with other organisations, have been planting orchards around the city to try to halt further decline in orchards, increase biodiversity and connect people with growing food in their local area. Communities, Schools and Friends Groups have also been getting involved. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tavy & Tamar Apple Group – the Group is based on the Bere Peninsula in West Devon and is mainly concerned with orchards on the Peninsula. They encourage the rejuvenation of local orchards through best practice and sustainable management. They hold an annual wassailing event, pruning and grafting courses, members days and an annual Apple Fest in October. They also hire out apple pressing and crushing equipment to members (who are trained in its use) This includes a mobile hydraulic Vigo Press, crushers and pasteurisers etc.