Once known as the Garden of England, Kent has lost 85% of its orchards in the last 50 years. Most missed are the magnificent 60 foot cherry trees which had their stronghold in north Kent around Faversham. The few remaining are stunning in blossom time, undergrazed by sheep. Orchards can still be found in the Weald and North Kent Fruit Belt.
Cherries were so abundant at one time that many products were made from them such as cherry wine and cherry ale. One speciality is cherry brandy made from morello cherries.
The Kentish Cobnut is a kind of hazlenut – more cobnuts are grown in Kent than anywhere else.
Cider in Kent is usually made from eating and cooking apples and not from cider apples as in the South West, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.
Kent orchard groups
To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map
- Kent Downs Orchards for everyone – The Mid Kent Orchard Project concerned with restoration of traditional orchards around the villages of Sheldwich, Milstead, Lenham and Stockbury
- Brogdale Collections – Brogdale Farm, is home to the National Fruit Collections, the largest collection of varieties of fruit trees and plants in the world. Over 2,300 different varieties of apple, 550 of pear, 350 of plum, 220 of cherry, 320 varieties of bush fruits, as well as smaller collections of nuts and vines are grown in 150 acres of orchards.Brogdale Collections provides opportunities for the public to have access to the Collections for education and enjoyment in a variety of ways including Guided Tours (April – November), Fruit Days, Festivals, Key Stage 1 & 2 education days and other courses and activities.
- Kentish Cobnut Association – represents growers and other interested parties, and promotes the cultivation and marketing of cobnuts. It runs training courses and produces a regular newsletter.
Where to buy trees in Kent
- Grow at Brogdale – The National fruit Collection at Brogdale has around 2,000 varieties of apple plus pear, cherry, plum, nuts and medlar. Grow at Brogdale offer a range of selected fruit trees online. They also offer a service to graft any of the trees in the collection to order. Brodgale Road, Faversham ME13 8XZ 01795 531888
- Keepers Nursery – 400 varieties of apple, more than 80 pears, plums, cherries and other fruits; they also offer a grafting and budding service. Online or mail order service. Website offers details about each variety. Gallants Court, East Farleigh, Maidstone, ME15 0LE.
Orchard services and produce in Kent
- Biddenden Vineyard – Produce premium ciders and apple juice from locally grown apples, as well as wine from their own vines. Also produce apple and pear juice. Free guided tours available. Little Whatmans, Biddenden TN27 8DH 01580 291726
- Brogdale Collections, sell hundreds of varieties of apples, plums, pears, cherries, quince, medlar in season from the shop. Single variety apple and pear juice is available from Tiddly Pomme. Brogdale Farm, Brogdale Road, Faversham ME13 8XZ. 01795 536250
- Chegworth Valley Fruit Farm – Sell around wide range of varieties of their own apples and pears and produce apple and pear juices and other fruit juices from own orchards, including single varieties. Fruit is grown organically and handpicked. Have shops in Borough Market and Notting Hill as well as at the farm. Sell through farmers markets and deliver orders of fruit boxes and juice to London and Kent on a next day basis. Chegworth, Maidstone ME17 1D 01622 859272
- Duskin Apple Juice – Farm pressed single variety apple juice. Available from shops or the farm.
- The Hop Shop – located in the Darenth Valley. The farm has an orchard of Norfolk Royal apples, also available in the farm shop, as is the Norfolk Royal and Bramley apple juice. Castle Farm, Shoreham, Sevenoaks Kent TN14 7UB. 01959 523219
- Moor Organic Juice – Produce a total of 14 apple and pear variety juices, incorporated into 3 brands. The organic ranges are Moor’s and Moor Organic Juice, both produced entirely from own hand-picked fruit, and the King’s Orchard range is produced from neighbours conventional fruit, all of which is pressed and bottled at Nichol Farm. Nichol Farm adjoins the land originally planted with apples, cherries and other fruits by the gardener to Henry VIII, namely Richard Harris, in the sixteenth century. This was known as the ‘Kings Orchards situated in the village of Teynham, for the enjoyment of King Henry’. Online shop and produce also available in local farms shops, restaurants and some supermarkets. Also offer a juicing, pasteurising and bottling service, and cold storage facilities. The Old Farmhouse, Nichol Farm, Deerton Street, Teynham ME9 9LJ
- Owlet Apple Juice – Single variety juices including Cox, Russett and Worcester and blended Cox / Bramley. Juices and fruit available from farm shop. Juices also available wholesale. Owl House, Lamberhurst TN3 8LY 01892 890553
- Perry Court Farm – Over 100 varieties of apples and 10 pears grown in their own orchards, available from the farm shop and local farmers markets. Produce apple and pear crisps. Bilting, Ashford TN25 4E5
- Pippins Fruit Farm – Fruit includes over 50 varieties of apples, pears, plums and cherries plus some damsons, quinces and cobnuts. Fruit plus apple juice and cider available from the farm shop. Majority of apples sold via a local co-operative to major supermarkets. Maidstone Road, Pembury, Tunbridge Wells TN2 4AB 01892 824569
- Potash Farm – The Potash Farm Plantation extends to about 6 acres and is likely to have been planted in about 1900. The plantation has been restored over the last five years and now contains about 500 original trees and 500 newly planted trees. Sell cobnuts in their green, golden and de-husked states, also cobnut oil. Widely available locally also through farm shop and online
- Roughway Farm – grows raspberries, apples, plums, cherries, greengages and Kent cobnuts. Supplies supermarkets and has an online shop. Can pickup from farm if email ahead. Allens Farm – Grow Kent Cobnuts. Supplied via mail order.
- Rentacherrytree . On the Kent/East Sussex border and have 4 cherry orchards in total with approx. 7500 trees. Total of 25 varieities grown. Available from farm shop and from farmers markets in Kent and London. Trees available to rent. Pick your own cherries from your rented tree in an orchard in Northiam (5 varieties available to choose from).
- Penshurst Place and Gardens – 11 acres of walled Tudor garden noted for its apple blossom in spring.
- In a nutshell, the story of Kentish cobnuts by Meg Game