Historically most Buckinghamshire orchards were to be found in the south of the county around High Wycombe and south of Aylesbury. Cherry orchards were the county’s speciality. Today, the overall picture in Buckinghamshire is bleak:
“Changes in agriculture have (also) meant that orchards of cherry, plum and apple which were once common south of Aylesbury were reduced by over 90% between 1938 and 1994 and are continuing to disappear. The County Council’s ‘Survey of Orchards in Southern Buckinghamshire’ revealed a 39% loss in orchards between 1975 and 1995 in one of the areas previously most important for fruit production. The condition of those remaining orchards is generally poor,” The Landscape Plan for Buckinghamshire, part 1, Landscape Character Assessment
The Aylesbury Prune, a black plum or damson, grown in Weston Turville and Totternhoe (Beds) in the upper greensand belt, was used for making jam. It is now a relatively rare hedgerow plum. The Totternhoe and Eaton Bray areas which once had extensive damson orchards and industry.
“… Buckinghamshire … thinks highly of its “chuggies”, as the jet-black cherries are called locally, that the first Sunday in August is observed there as “Cherry Pie Sunday”. This marks the completion of the cherry harvest with the gathering of the late Prestwood Blacks, and it is the custom for cherry pie, or other delicious recipes such as cherry turnover or cherry duff, to be served in cottages and farmhouses”.
Seer Green Cherry Pie Fair (nr Chalfont St Giles), June 22, still continues, and recently has been part of Seer Green’s Village Day, where there are locally made cherry pies for sale. They are keen to keep the fair going and the parish council has allocated money for cherry trees to be planted in the village.
Buckinghamshire orchard groups
To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map
- Midshires Orchard Group – The Mid Shires Orchard Group aims to conserve and promote enjoyment and use of the local orchards and rich apple traditions of the four ‘mid-shires’ counties of Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire.
Who we are: We are a friendly community group, run by volunteers and administered by an elected committee. New members are welcomed! We value the enthusiasm, ideas and contributions that each one brings to the group and we enjoy learning from each other. In return, we offer support for a range of heritage fruit endeavours and aim to cover all topics of interest to our members. We also have a programme of social and educational events, held throughout the year.
Our four main themes of seasonal celebration are: Winter Wassail, Springtime Scionwood Swap, Summer Field Trip and Autumn Apple Days. These popular events act as social focal points for our members and also serve to increase public awareness of top fruit heritage, promote related skills and give wider access to local and unusual varieties. In addition, they allow us to reach out to communities across our four counties, helping them develop, conserve, enjoy and make use of their heritage fruit trees, orchards and harvests.
Where to buy trees in Buckinghamshire
- Bernwode Plants -several hundred varieties covering apples, pears, plums, gages, cherries, vines, medlars, quinces, and some soft fruit. They have rare Buckinghamshire apple trees, the Bazely and the Long Reinette and possibly the last surviving Black Prince apple. Kingswood Lane, Ludgershall HP18 9RB. 01844 237415
- Buckingham Nurseries & Garden Centre – large number of varieties of apple, field grown, available on various rootstocks, plus peaches, pears, cherries, plums etc. Also now stock trees supplied by the Heritage Fruit Tree Company (see below). Tingewick Road, Buckingham MK18 4AE. 01280 813556
- Heritage Fruit Tree Company – local varieties for Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Warwickshire
Orchard services and produce in Buckinghamshire
- Home Cottage Farm Shop – 18 varieties of apples, pears, plums and damsons and raspberries sold via farm shop or PYO. Home Cottage Farm, Bangors Road South, Iver Heath, Bucks. United Kingdom. SL0 0BB. 01753 653064
- Peterley Manor Farm Shop, Nursery and Cafe – Produce own apple juice from varieties including Cox’s Orange pippin, Greensleeves, Red Pippin and Lord Lambourne. Sell locally produced fruit and vegetables.
- Drovers Hill Farm –Produce own organic apple juice and cider. Apple pressing service – based in Princes Risborough (HP27 9NJ), they provide a local apple pressing service for Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire and turn apples and pears into bottles of juice.
- Copas Farms – has two Pick Your Own Farms – one at Cookham in Berkshire and the other at Iver in Buckinghamshire. Both offer a wide range of high quality seasonal fruit and vegetables. Nine varieties of cherries, five of plums and four of apples.
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