Traditional orchard decline
Traditional orchards offer the habitat stability that is becoming so scarce in our countryside, yet is so valuable to the future of our wildlife.
Over the last 10 years, our orchards team, with the help of over 700 volunteers and nearly 1500 orchard owners, has identified over 35,000 individual orchards in England and over 7,000 in Wales.
Alarmingly, this work revealed that 90% of traditional orchards have been lost since the 1950s, with the majority of the loss attributed to neglect and development. Furthermore, 45% of the remaining orchards surveyed in England and 35% of orchards in Wales were found to be in declining condition as a habitat. By far the most common reason for this is lack of replacement tree replanting, meaning these remaining old orchards will quickly disappear unless action is taken. View the full reports for England and Wales in our wildlife reports section.
Traditional orchards are fantastic for wildlife as they are made up of several different habitats, including elements of woodland, hedgerow and meadow grassland. This mosaic of habitats is home to a range of biodiversity, including butterflies, bumblebees, birds, bats and beetles. The unique way fruit trees age creates an indispensable habitat for a wide range of rare and interesting species. Find out more about the wildlife orchards support in our orchard habitat pages.
This website is part of an ongoing effort to conserve and restore traditional orchards across the country in recognition of their amazing habitat value to local wildlife. Find out how you can help the biodiversity in your orchard.