Bedfordshire has an important fruit growing history and one of the most successful plant breeders in the world was based near Bedford – Thomas Laxton was born in 1830 at Tinwell near Stamford. He had a love of plant breeding and had experimental grounds on the Kimbolton and London Roads and at Girtford in Sandy.
His sons and grandsons followed in his footsteps, and together they produced an amazing number of new varieties of apples – such as Lord Lambourne, Laxton’s Epicure, Laxton’s Fortune, Laxton’s Superb and Barnack Orange; plums – Laxton’s Gage, Early Laxton, Laxton’s Supreme; pears, gooseberries, raspberries, currants and strawberries – such as Royal Sovereign.
After his death in 1893, his sons carried on his work on 140 acres known as ‘Laxton’s Land’ at Goldington Road (now covered by Bedfordshire College of Higher Education and two schools). They also opened a shop at 63 High Street, Bedford which remained until 1957.
Bedfordshire orchard groups
To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map
- Orchards East is a multi-region environmental and cultural project covering six counties in the east of England – Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.Funded by the Heritage Lottery fund and based in the School of History at the University of East Anglia (UEA), it is devoted to discovering and understanding the past, present and future of orchards in Eastern England, and will last for four years.
- East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP), works to ensure a future for local orchard fruits and orchards. It covers Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. They supply local variety fruit trees, attend Apple Days, run workshops and produce a newsletter. There are about 250 local fruit varieties and EEAOP work to preserve the varieties and their orchard habitat for their local significance, genetic diversity, as local food sources and for their landscape and wildlife value.
- Bedfordshire and Luton Orchard Group (BLOG) is a countywide organisation representing conservation societies and local people. We aim to bring together like minded people to help survey, conserve and enjoy the county’s orchard heritage. BLOG is managed by a steering group of interested individuals who meet to promote and manage Bedfordshire’s orchards.
Where to buy trees in Bedfordshire
- East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP) – catalogue has over 240 varieties of apples, pears, plums and cherries. Supply standard or half standard bare-root trees.
Orchard services and produce in Bedfordshire
- The Cambridge Juice Company are a Cambridgeshire based independent, family wholesaler, that has served Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire for nearly 100 years providing local produce, originally on market stalls over the years and now delivering throughout East Anglia in our vans. From Fruit You Eat To Fruit You Drink!
This gazeteer is regularly updated. This section currently has no listings, please contact us if you have information to add.