Shropshire is Damson Country.
The Drayton Fair (1850s to 1930s) was where baskets of damsons were sold for cotton and wool dying.
The National Damson Collection has been created in the gardens of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust, Coach Road, Coalbrookdale, Telford, TF8 7DQ by the Shropshire branch of the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens
Shropshire orchard groups
To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map
- Shropshire Apple Trust is a constituted community-trust, based in Coalbrookdale within Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire. They work to raise awareness of the importance of traditional orchards with their associated wildlife and the threats posed to the richness of traditional apple culture by increasing reliance on a few modern cultivars. The Trust aims to help revive interest in local fruit trees, and give advice on orcharding and the practical use of the apple harvest to produce juices for drinking and conversion to products such as cider and cider vinegar. Has its own one-tonne traditional twin-screw apple press for hire or purchase. Organise an annual Apple Day.
- Marcher Apple Network (MAN) -Rhwydwaith Afalau’r Gororau – is involved in the preservation of old varieties, helping members and the public with orcharding matters and attending many agricultural shows during the autumn providing an identification service. Provides an extensive library service, runs courses and lists of local events. MAN has published the Herefordshire Pomona and the Welsh Marches Pomona. A CD is available giving almost 400 descriptions of cider apples and perry pears.
- Small Woods – vision is to see small woods in the UK valued for the many benefits they bring to a sustainable society, and to help achieve their better management to make the most of these benefits. They do this through:- Membership – Sustainable woodlands – Training – Projects and consultancy. Courses and projects in Green Wood Centre. Based in Coalbrookdale but not specific to orchards.
Where to buy trees in Shropshire
- 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.
- Harley Nursery – offer a wide range of fruit trees including damson trees and soft fruit bushes throughout the year.
Where to buy orchard produce in Shropshire
- The Cider House at Wootton Green, Quatt is a pub which sells 13 draught and bottled ciders and no beer. 01746 780285
- Mahorall Farm Cider – Mahorall Farm Ciders are made using apples grown in local Shropshire orchards. Wild yeasts help to produce different tasting ciders depending on the season, type of yeast and apple varieties. Sold direct from the farm to both trade and public, through local outlets. Nash, Ludlow SY8 3AH. 01584 890296
- The Local to Ludlow campaign promotes food and drink produced within 30 miles of the town. Lists markets, shops and restaurants.
- The National Damson and Bullace Collection is held at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust in the arboretum behind the Darby Houses.
- The Shropshire Prune Damson is a celebration of damsons in general and the Shropshire Prune variety of damson in particular and includes recipes and events.
- ‘Real Cidermaking on a Small Scale’ book by Michael Pooley & John Lomax. Co-authored by two of the founders of Shropshire Apple Trust.
- Apples of the Welsh Marches – This publication from MAN lists old varieties of apples cultivated in the traditional orchards of the West Midlands and the neighbouring parts of Wales. It includes dessert and culinary apples available for sale by nurseries, but excludes purely cider apples. There are alphabetical lists of ‘local’ apples, with a brief account of each variety, arranged by county or region where they are thought to have originated. Also listed are varieties extensively grown in the area in the past and still to be found in local farm orchards