Cambridgeshire is a county of commercial orchards growing Cox’s Orange Pippin, Bramley’s Seedling, Conference pears and Victoria plums. The growth of orchards in Cambridgeshire, particularly around Histon and Wisbech, was encouraged by the jam making industry. John Chivers established his factory at Histon in 1873.
The Habitat Action Plan for Cambridgeshire includes traditional orchards for their importance to wild life. The Dry Drayton Parish Map refers to the community’s orchards: “Orchards have been planted in the village since c1900, with plums being the dominant fruit, grown for the production of plum jam. Apples took over as the main crop from about the mid 1930s. As the market for local apples diminished, so did the orchards, with the last of the Chivers fruit trees being pulled up in 1999”.
There is an orchard in the grounds of Girton College, Cambridge University. The grounds are semi-wild, unlike the formal lawned grounds of many of the Colleges.
Huntingdonshire once had extensive apple and plum orchards, particularly around Colne and Bluntisham
Cambridgeshire orchard groups
To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map
- 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.
- Cambridgeshire Orchard Group – working to communicate the value of traditional orchards to planners to better protect the remaining orchard resource and to encourage new plantings.
Where to buy trees in Cambridgeshire
- 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.
Where to buy orchard produce in Cambridgeshire
- Cambridge Organic Food Company run a box scheme of organic fruit and veg, eggs, flour and other produce. Their apples, Bramley, Spartan and Grenadiers, are grown at their organic orchard at Aston Organic Orchard, Risby, Bury St. Edmunds, which was converted to organic status in 1988.
- Cam Valley Orchards Farm Shop – grow over 30 varieties of plums, 50 varieties of apples, 5 varieties of pears and 4 varieties of cherries. Produce 14 single variety apple juices. Also make jam, chutney, and cider. Available from farms shops, local shops and pubs. Plums supplied to supermarkets. 25 Whitcroft Road, Meldreth, Royston SG8 6ND, 07770 461685
- La Hogue Farm Shop produce is sourced locally and seasonally where possible. Fruit and vegetables, dairy, wines and ales, meat and game. Chippenham, 3 miles north of Newmarket, 01638 751128
- Watergull Orchards is a family business producing around 20 single variety juices including Grenadier, Howgate Wonder, Laxton’s Fortune, plus apple & elderflower and apple & ginger. They use fruit from their own orchards plus old orchards within Cambridgeshire. Widely available in the area and also online.
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