Orchards East is an exciting three year Heritage Lottery funded project working across the eastern region. The project, based at the University of East Anglia, extends initiatives to survey existing orchards already developed by Bedfordshire and Luton Orchard Group and other partners, including the East of England Apples and Orchards Project. The survey data will be used to record the kind of orchards in existence as well as their significance as habitats for biodiversity and wildlife. In addition the project will research the history of orchards to help understand what was grown locally, how orchards were managed and the importance of orchards to the local community and its economy.
You can read more about the project in the winter 2017 issue of Local Wildlife.
What we can do
Working across Bedfordshire, Cambridge, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, Orchards East is hoping to recruit and train as many volunteers as possible to take part in surveying local orchards – no expertise needed just an interest in your local area and a willingness to complete a short and simple survey form! In addition volunteers are needed to get involved in local historic research involving anything from looking online to visiting the local Records Office.
The project also aims to raise our understanding and appreciation of orchards by running a range of workshops on different aspects of orchard management including planting, propagating and grafting, pruning and orchard restoration.
Finally, for those individuals or communities interested in developing a community orchard or who would like to bring an old orchard back to life, Orchards East can offer help and support to get your project off the ground.
How to help
Orchards East would welcome any information readers may have about old orchards in Bedfordshire or the wider region and are also looking for volunteers who can help to track down and survey old orchards and undertake some local research into their history. Anyone with an interest in fruit, orchards and the historic landscape is welcome to join us!
For further information, please visit the website www.orchardseast.org.uk