John Gittins (former Executive Director, Cheshire Orchard Project) writes:
“Cheshire is not, in a national context regarded as an area renowned for fruit growing. It does not spring to mind as readily as Kent or Herefordshire, but for all that, Cheshire has a rich history of fruit growing from nursery production to market sales. However, to date we already know of 32 apple cultivars, which have been developed in the County and no doubt there are more. We know very little about varieties of pear but our Cheshire Damson is relished far and wide.
You do not have to travel far in rural Cheshire to appreciate that most of the older farms, small holdings and cottages still have the remains of orchard trees either in the garden hedgerow or in grassy paddocks set close to the house. With large areas of the County containing residential housing dating from the mid-Victorian period through to pre-Second World War, it was common practice to include fruit trees and orchards in the garden landscape schemes, and some of these trees still survive. Fruit evidence is also to be found on Ordnance Survey maps and in field names across the county.
Up to the late 1940s, the large conurbations of Manchester and Liverpool were supplied with much of their fresh fruit from local sources, but in line with the rest of the country, most of the fruit now comes from abroad.
Cheshire orchard groups
To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map
- Northern Fruit Group – Formed in 1995, The Northern Fruit Group is a membership based group of individuals interested in the growing of fruit. Ability ranges from amateur gardeners interested in fruit but having little knowledge through to professional fruit growers. Membership of the group exceeds 300.The group holds regular meetings at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate with talks given by invited speakers. A newsletter is published four times a year. There is at least one visit each year to a garden, orchard or commercial fruit farm. The Group is developing teaching and demonstration gardens in the Walled Garden at Harewood House, near Leeds; on allotments at Dewhurst Road, Huddersfield and in Hexthorpe, Doncaster. The group ethos is one of sharing practical skills; members are encouraged to come along and take part in the practical days held at the various garden sites.A number of Workshops are held including:- summer and winter pruning, bench grafting and buddingThe group also produces a number of leaflets, which include:-
Suggested Cultivars for the North details the cultuvars that members grow and some obervations on their performance.
Where to buy trees in Cheshire
- Heathfield Orchards – grow own apple trees, mainly Cheshire varieties and other heritage apples, mostly on MM106 rootstock. Most of the trees are bare rooted but a number are in pots. Call Katie Lowe on 01244 335059 or 07870 140520 or Pete Tonge on 01244 335059 or 07981 047259
- F.Morrey & Son, Forest Nursery – Cheshire damsons available. Also apples, pears, plums etc. Near Tarporley, Cheshire CW6 0SN, 01829 751342
- Fruits of the Forage – A sustainable preserves company that gathers heritage fruits that would otherwise go to waste from abandoned orchards and hedgerows across the UK. By combining these fruits with wild plants they capture a unique taste of the British landscape.
Fruits of the Forage want to give back to the British landscape, enriching the environment for wildlife and future generations. If you are a landowner who cares for the land you can help their project. Fruits of the Forage will donate trees including Damsons, traditional plum, apple, pear and wild plants such as elderberry to be planted in hedgerows and small scale orchards. All they ask in return is permission to pick any surplus fruit.
If you would like to get involved in this project please email email@example.com
Orchard services and produce in Cheshire
- Willington Fruit Farm – The Farm shop at Willington Fruit Farm is set in the heart of Cheshire surrounded by the Sandstone trail & Delamere Forest. Winsors fruit farm shop is a family run business established over 60 years ago. Our shop sells apples, award winning home pressed apple juice, Winsors Cheshire Dry Cider and all the usual fruit produce. Hillside Farm, Chapel Lane, Willington, Tarporley, Cheshire, CW6 OPH. 01829 751216
- Heathfield Orchards Consultancy – Services offered include orchard management plans, grafting trees to order, planting orchards, formative pruning on young trees, advice on renovating old orchards, grafting workshops. Contact Katie Lowe. 01244 335059 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Orchards, Trees & Orchard Produce, Cheshire information, Orchards and Community Orchards to Visit