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Goucestershire

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“75% of Gloucestershire’s orchards have been lost in the last 50 years, mainly through agricultural changes, foreign competition and supermarket pressures. Despite this decline, Gloucestershire still has areas where orchards form strong traditional landscape character. The Berkeley Vale and Dymock areas contain a noticeable number of orchards with many local varieties … There are 157 recorded Gloucestershire apple varieties of which only 86 are still known to be in existence. There are also dozens of varieties of pear local to the county. Many of the varieties have names that reflect their origins within the county such as Chaxhill Red, Arlington Pippin, Severnbank, Gillyflower of Gloucester and Blakeney Red, a perry pear”.

Gloucestershire County Council

Since the mid-1990s years Gloucestershire County Council has offered grants for orchard restoration and has supported the planting of over 2,500 fruit trees. They have also been developing a six hectare orchard of Gloucestershire varieties of apple, perry pears and other fruit at the Ebworth Centre, National Trust land between Stroud and Birdlip. Ebworth will also act as a future Orchard Interpretation Centre, a gene bank and place where grafts of the lesser known local varieties can be obtained.

The poet Leonard Clark described his memories of Gloucestershire orchards in ‘Apple Trees’.

The plum and perry pear orchards on both sides of the Severn south of Gloucester, around Waterend, Elton, Bollow and Chexhill are beautiful at blossom-time in early April.

The Orchard Pig or Gloucester Old Spot was traditionally raised on windfall apples and whey in the Severn Valley, where it originated. Contact the Gloucester Old Spots Pig Breeders’ Club, Richard Lutwyche, secretary 01285 860229.

Perry is made from pear juice and is an alcholic drink which has been made for thousands of years. It reached its height of popularity in England between the mid 17th and mid 18th century aided by the difficulties of importing wine from France. Single pear perries are customary owing to problems in blending. Small and unpalatable, perry fruits generally make a lighter and more delicate drink than cider and at its best, perry is a rival to wine. Not before time, perry production is undergowing a revival in the region, both commercially and on a domestic scale. Regional perry pear varieties have been planted at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern. Four old perry pears have recently been found by expert Charles Martell – Hellens Green, Walter Lugg, Stony Way and Fords Green Huffcap and will be added to the collection.

With huge majestic trees which can last for three centuries, perry pears are wonderful monuments in the landscape around Newent and Dymock – but as part of the farmed landscape they are fast disappearing. This is to be deplored. Local perry makers reckon that perry pear trees grow best in the red sandstone soils found on the Herefordshire-Gloucestershire border, within sight of May Hill. Gloucestershire pears are a muddle of local names that change from place to place – the county is said to be home to some 100 perry pear varieties known by well over 200 different names, some of which hint at the effects of consumption: Bloody Bastard, Merrylegs and Lightning Pear (reputed to go straight through).

 

Goucestershire orchard groups

To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map

  • Gloucestershire Orchard Trust – was originally formed as an independent association in 2001 and it is now a registered charity, no. 1137917. It aims to conserve, promote and celebrate traditional orchards in the county of Gloucestershire. They offer information on creating or restoring traditional orchards, Gloucestershire fruit varieties, nurseries, and events run by the Trust. The Gloucestershire Orchard Trust provides a comprehensive list of Community orchards in the area
  • National Perry Pear Centre – Hartpury Heritage Trust – A national collection of Perry Pears registered with NCCPG has been planted in Hartpury and an Orchard Centre built there offering training in the production of perry and cider.
  • Three Counties Traditional Orchard Project – aims to restore 25 traditional orchards in key orchard areas in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The TCTOP group is focussing on just a few areas and involving the owners and local people in the restoration, so that the skills and knowledge needed will stay in the community. TCTOP is currently working in: Gorsley, Kilcot and Longney in Gloucestershire; Whitbourne, Breinton and Ross on Wye in Herefordshire; and Rochford & Tenbury, Evesham, Pershore and Alfrick in Worcestershire.
  • Three Counties Cider and Perry Association – The Three Counties Cider and Perry Association is the organisation which represents, supports and promotes the interests of craft scale cider and perry producers, primarily based in the Three Counties region of the UK (Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire). This region has a rich heritage of cider & perry making, and has more orchards than anywhere else in the UK.  We provide a friendly and educational platform for new or existing cider makers to learn more about technical, commercial and legislational aspects of the cider industry.
     

Where to buy trees in Goucestershire

  • Lodge Farm Trees sells around 50 Gloucestershire varieties of apple plus pears, cherries, medlar and quince.  The nursery have been working closely with the Gloucestershire Orchard Trust and are currently propagating old rare apple, pear and plum varieties originating from the Gloucestershire area. Lodge Farm, Rockhampton, Berkeley, Gloucestershire, GL13 9DY. 01454 260310
  • Day’s Cottage Apple Juice  – (Dave Kaspar/Helen Brent-Smith) – propagate old and unusual varieties of apple and pear trees, specialising in local Gloucestershire varieties. Day’s Cottage, Upton Lane, Brookthorpe, Gloucestershire, Gl4 0UT. 01452 813602
  • Sarah Juniper – supplies Gloucestershire varieties as well as being an identifier, offering workshops and supplying a display of apple varieties for Apple Day events. The Apple Factor, 109 Woodmancote, Dursley GL14 4AH. 01453 545675
  • Tom the Apple Man – Tom Adams grows a range of heritage varieties traditionally grown along the English/Welsh borderland, from Cheshire down to Gloucestershire, plus other varieties that show resistance to scab and canker that grow well in the English/Welsh borders region. Trees are grown without the use of chemicals and natural methods of pest control. The nursery is full of wild flowers and herbs that attract predatory insects and birds such as blue tits that feed on aphids. A grafting service is available.
  • Walcot Organic Nursery – The county of Gloucestershire is well known for its plum growing particularly along the lower reaches of the River Severn south of Gloucester and into the Forest of Dean. Some of the varieties are very local to certain parts of the county and as a result are dwindling in number. At the request of Gloucestershire Orchard Trust (GOT) the nursery are growing a small selection. Also offer apples, pears, plums, gages and quinces
  • The Tree Life Centre – is a community tree nursery in Kingswood, Bristol. Fruit trees, native trees, wildflowers and edible plants of local provenence are grown organically by volunteers. They have many interesting local heritage apple varieties for sale with different root stocks.0117 960 5447

 

Orchard services and produce in Goucestershire

  • The Orchard Marketplace is an online marketplace, set up to facilitate the exchange of fruit and other orchard related produce nationwide. The Marketplace is run by the Gloucestershire Orchard Group, with funding from the National Trust/Natural England Conserving & Restoring Traditional Orchards, England Project and the Heritage Lottery Fund. Items do not necessarily have to be purchased; some may be given for free. Besides fruit, services may also be offered, such as trees for sale, skills, equipment.
  • Days Cottage Apple Juice – made with apples from traditional, mature orchards in Gloucestershire. The fruit comes only from unsprayed orchards and dozens of varieties are used, some unique to the county, such as Taynton Codlin, Flower of the West and Underleaves. Traditional ciders and perry are fermented and matured in oak barrels. Once again, only old varieties are used, including Morgan Sweet and Foxwhelp apples and Brown Bess and Blakeney Red pears. During the fruit season (September-December) also a unique range of heritage and Gloucestershire varieties and apples, pears, plums and more. Day’s Cottage, Upton Lane, Brookthorpe, Gloucestershire, Gl4 0UT 01452 813602
  • Cotswolds Choice and Gloucestershire Local Food and Drink Directory – details of food, drink and natural products which are grown, reared or sourced in Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds including fruit, cider and perry.
  • Hayles Fruit Farm sell around 15 apple varieties, plus pears, plums from their own orchards, plus cobnuts, apple and pear juice and cider. Winchcombe, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL54 5PB, 01242 603320
  • Orchards Cider & Perry Co – Traditionally crafted cider and perry produced in the village of Brockweir located in the Wye Valley. The fruits are collected from near by orchards, some of which are very old containing some interesting and rare varieties of full standard trees. Orchard’s cider and Perry Co was the first maker in Gloucestershire to be awarded with “Protection of Geographical Indication Certificate of Conformity” by Herefordshire Environmental Health & Trading Standards Service for Gloucestershire Perry, Gloucestershire Dry, Medium and Sweet Cider. The cider and perry is sold locally in restaurants, pubs, and shops.
  • Priors Tipple Cider – produce draught and bottled cider using traditional methods. Many of their orchards consist of extremely old, large standard type trees, some dating back to Victorian times. Available online and through a wide range of local stockists.
  • Ragmans Farm – A 60 acre farm in the Forest of Dean run on permaculture principles that is primarily about educating and employing people to work the land sustainably, giving them the opportunity to ‘learn on the job’, as well as producing wholesome food for local markets. The Apple Juice is made from unsprayed fruit from orchards in the Forest of Dean and Herefordshire, apples picked by hand . The juice is sold through farmers’ markets and shops in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire and online.

 

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