We're mad keen about all things associated with traditional orchards...
...but what is a traditional orchard, and what can you typically find in a traditional orchard in the way of trees, wildlife and flora?
A traditional orchard will usually have the following characteristics:-
- there will be five or more fruit or nut trees present
- they will be grown in a 'low intensity manner', with few inputs
- the trees will be large-sized, typically with 6 foot of clear trunk at the base before the branches fan out
- they will be widely spaced apart, usually in rows, often at ten paces (c. 30 foot) spacings between trees
- the grass sward will commonly be grazed by sheep or cattle
- the trees will live for a long time (perhaps over 100 years for an apple tree or 350 years for a perry pear tree)
'An ancient tradition of collaboration between people and nature makes traditional orchards a unique example of simultaneous agriculture and conservation. If we can rewild England's orchards - favouring organic methods and harvesting with a balanced ecosystem in mind - not only wildlife but people will have a far richer England to profit from in the centuries to come.'
Extract from frontispiece of Orchard - A Year In England's Eden by Benedict Macdonald and Nicholas Gates.
Find out more about the types of fruit and nut trees found in traditional orchards.
Find out more about a selection of the species of wildlife found in traditional orchards.
Find out more about a selection of the species of plants found in traditional orchards.
For a far more detailed case study of the biodiversity of three traditional orchards in the nearby Wyre Forest area of Worcestershire please see the English Nature Research Report below.