In Victorian times there were extensive orchards in an area to the west of Chorley and around the southern fringes of Preston and fruits taken to the markets of many rapidly growing northern towns. Grenadier apples were sent by train to the Barrow market from orchards to the north of Lancaster.
Some older Lancashire apple varieties still available today include Lord Suffield, Pott’s Seedling, Gold Medal, Sowman’s Seedling, Proctor’s Seedling, Golden Spire and Lady’s Delight . Duke of Devonshire and Keswick Codlin arose from the former Furness District of Lancashire. Scotch Bridget was much appreciated as a dual-purpose apple and is often seen in old N.W.orchards today.
Westmorland damsons of the Lyth and Winster Valley near Kendal are a little smaller and sharper than their Shropshire relatives. The trees are scattered all over the valley – along stonewalls, in field corners, near the schoolyard – anywhere where the thin soils allow. Like the Kea plum, these damsons continue to be sold locally for picking and jamming. They can be enjoyed fresh and make a good-flavoured ice-cream.
Lancashire 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.
- South Lakeland Orchard Group – SLOG has apple trees for sale, grafted this year. SLOG has specially selected varieties and rootstocks that do well in the North West.
- The South Ribble Orchard Project – Little Hoole. Monitors and researches many unidentified apples and pears grafted from remnant NW orchard trees. Links with orchard groups listed above.
- Middlewood Trust orchard plantings, High Roeburndale, nr Wray village
Where to buy trees in the Lancashire
- South Lakeland Orchard Group – SLOG has apple trees for sale, grafted this year. SLOG has specially selected varieties and rootstocks that do well in the North West. Varieties include Lancashire Scotch Bridget
- R.V. Rogers of Pickering stock a selection of Lancashire apples
Where to buy orchard produce in Lancashire
- Astley Hall
- Sizergh NT
- Apple Days including Acorn Bank NT, Ashton Hall Garden Centre nr Lancaster, Arnside and Silverdale AONB (biennial)
- Greenbank Farm, Over Kellet, Carnforth
- Manic Organic, Fleet St. Farm, 518 Southport Rd, Scarisbick L40 9RF
This gazeteer is regularly updated. Please contact us if you have information to add or amend.
- ‘Bridgets, Keswicks and Reinettes – Orchards of the Arnside & Silverdale AONB’ – which includes research into the value of orchards and the diversity of fruit varieties within the landscape of the AONB, a look at the unique history of selected orchards, practical advice on growing and maintaining fruit trees, and investigations into outlets for surplus fruit. Copies cost £3 from the Arnside & Silverdale AONB, The Old Station Building, Arnside, Carnforth, Lancashire LA5 0HG, 01524 761034.
- Eccleston Apple Blossoms (2004); Lancashire Archives, Preston