Orchard group

Apples on a treeFollowing a Friends of Wychwood ramble in a local orchard and a talk by apple expert Dr. Barrie Juniper a handful of Friends’ members have founded a Wychwood Project Orchard Group in the interests of promoting biodiversity and conserving this traditional and diminishing local habitat.

In 1901 Oxfordshire had 1,533 acres of apple orchards and there are numerous local Oxfordshire varieties of apple including the Blenheim Orange, the Eynsham dumpling and Oxford Sunset. It is a surprise to learn that the apple tree is almost as good a refuge for wildlife as the English oak. Sadly many orchards have been lost to development or were cleared for farming in previous decades, to the detriment of local character and wildlife.

In recognition of this loss there is an ongoing national survey in which our local environmental records office (TVERC) has participated. With the help of first edition Ordnance Survey maps, our aim will be to assess likely orchard habitats and what remains on the ground.

We hope to carry out surveys and record what we find with the help of landowners

  • Identify varieties
  • Arrange training on pruning and grafting
  • Hold an Apple Day with apple identification
  • Our ambition will be to plant our own orchard and help to found community orchards

We would like your help

If you know of any orchards, or orchard remnants, if you are knowledgeable about any aspect of orchards or have experience with fruit growing, pruning or grafting, if you are interested in helping with surveys or acquiring such skills, please contact the Project Office.