Orchards, Trees & Orchard Produce
Where to Get Help
The East of England Apples and Orchards Project began life as the Norfolk Apples and Orchards project and was set up to promote a greater awareness of Norfolk's apple heritage. It has recently extended its brief to cover the other Eastern counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. They are surveying the area's existing orchards and helping to establish new orchards with Eastern county varieties - they produce a most comprehensive range of local apples and pears. Contact them for details of price and stock availability. They also organise Apple Day celebrations. Contact Clare Stimson or Martin Skipper at School, Rougham, Kings Lynn PE32 2SE, or call +44(0)1328 838403, and take a look at the project web-site. They also sell trees.
Grant aid is available for some new planting schemes. Further details from Gerry Barnes, Countryside Team, Norfolk County Council, +44(0)1603 222764.
Orchards and Community Orchards to visit
Coltishall Community Apple Orchard, next to Coltishall allotments, off Kings Road and Wroxham Road, Coltishall, Norwich NR12. An orchard of half a hectare planted in 1997 on unused allotment land owned by Coltishall Parish Council. Coltishall Parish Tree Wardens have been instrumental in creating and managing the orchard and encourage other Tree Wardens to do the same. The trees are half standard culinary and dessert apples of Norfolk varieties. The orchard is managed organically. Grass is cut at times to encourage more wildflowers and hedgerows are being established and cut on a three year cycle. A barn owl uses the orchard, fox and deer and many species of birds and insects are seen. The crop is available for local people to pick as advertised in the parish magazine. Picnics with guided tours are planned. Contact: Peter J Croft, Daneshill, 6 White Lion Road, Coltishall, Norwich NR12 7AR, +44(0)1603 737427, petercroot[at]fsmail.net
At Felbrigg Hall, Norwich NR11 8PR an orchard is contained within a walled garden, and a short avenue of Norfolk Royal Russets were planted in 1983. +44(0)1263 837444.
Kenninghall Orchard, Bowling Lane, Kenninghall (green lane opposite church). A standard orchard of an acre planted in 2001 by the Kenninghall Lands Trust on land owned by Kenninghall Parish Council. Apples, plums, cherry, greengage, medlar, pear, quince, walnut and mulberry have been planted with some local varieties including the apples Adam’s Pearmain, Dr Harvey, Green Roland, Harling Hero, Hubbard’s Pearmain, Norfolk beefing, Norfolk Summer beefing, Norfolk Honey Russet, and Norfolk Beauty. The fruit is picked by local residents. Each tree is sponsored but this doesn’t give the sponsor sole access to the fruit. There are plans to produce some village cider. The orchard is bounded by hedgerows, a seasonal stream and community woodland. Bee and Pyramid Orchards have appeared and more species of butterflies, dragonflies, plus hares, woodpeckers and deer. Wildflowers have been sown. Wassailing and Midsummer have been celebrated in the orchard, and Apple Day in the village hall or Banham Barrel, a local cider maker’s pub. There is access by foot at all times. Contact: Mrs Lucy Whittle, The Cottages, Mill Lane, Kenninghall, Norfolk NR16 2EW, +44(0)1953 888117, OR Anne Groves, Street Farm, Kenninghall, Norfolk, +44(0)1953 888176, lands-trust[at]kenninghall.org.uk or see www.kenninghall-landtrust.org.uk
The Orchard at Kelling Heath, Kelling Heath Holiday Park, Weybourne, Holt NR25 7HW. An orchard of 30 trees of ten Norfolk apple and pear varieties was planted at Kelling Heath Holiday Park 2006. The orchard was designed by Peter Eustace and the trees were planted with help from children from the nearby Colby Primary School. Varieties chosen include Five Crowned/London Pippin, Golden Noble, Norfolk Royal Russet, Admiral, Green Roland, Adam’s Pearmain, New Costessey Seedling, Robin, Hacon's Incomparable and Blickling. The park is within 250 acres of woodland and heathland of the North Norfolk AONB. It borders Kelling Heath which is designated as a SSSI. The Holiday Park is a commercial venture with the environment as its main draw. There are camp sites and holiday homes, waymarked tracks and activities plus shop, bar, restaurant and health club. Jason Kidman, Kelling Heath’s countryside manager, worked with the East of England Apples and Orchard Project to find local varieties. Jason researched the history of the estate from 13th century records to find the most appropriate place for the orchard. The orchard has been designed as a tranquil place for future generations to enjoy. It is hoped it will be as valuable to wild life as to people. Contact: Countryside Team, Kelling Heath, Weybourne, Holt NR25 7HW, +44(0)1263 588181, info[at]kellingheath.co.uk or see www.kellingheath.co.uk
Norfolk Rural Life Museum (left), Beech House, Gressenhall, East Dereham NR20 4DR has established an orchard with Norfolk varieties. Normal admission charges apply. Contact, +44(0)1362 860563 or see their website
North Burlingham Woodland Walks, situated six miles east of Norwich on the A47 - parking next to the village church - includes a new Norfolk heritage orchard, planted by Norfolk County Council in 2000/1.
Oxburgh Hall (National Trust), Oxburgh, King's Lynn PE33 9P5, +44(0)1366 328258. Portugal quinces from the walled orchard are a great attraction and are used in the kitchens for quince and almond tarts. Biennially, Oxburgh hosts a quince evening on Apple Day at which a variety of quince dishes, including stews, tarts and Turkish Delight. Tastings are followed by a lecture on the cultivation of the fruit.
Pigney’s Wood Heritage Orchard, Hall Lane, Knapton (leaving North Walsham on the Bacton Road, past the Bluebell pub, after ¾ mile take a left into Hall Lane for half a mile. The Pigney’s Wood car park is by a stone cottage). An orchard of five hectares next to Pigney’s Wood community woodland. The first orchard trees were planted in 2007 by North Norfolk Community Woodland Trust run by twelve trustees. The and was purchased by the Trust for the benefit of the community. A renovated barn acts as an information centre and picnic area and there is a wooden bird hide. So far there are nine half standard apple trees and one pear, all of Norfolk varieties: Robin pear, and apples Lynn’s Pippin, Golden Noble, Winter Queening, Norfolk Royal, Adam’s Pearmain, Striped Beefing, Norfolk Beefing and Sandringham, and the Essex apple Monarch and Winter Queening, an old apple from the southeast. More trees of Norfolk varieties will be planted to extend the orchard within the five hectares of land. The fruit will be free for the local community to pick. The orchard is managed organically. Grass is cut twice a year to encourage wildflowers. In conjunction with the Griffon Partnership, local schools and community groups have helped plant 7000 wildflower plugs. Milk parsley plants have been planted to attract Swallowtail butterflies. Bird and bat boxes have been installed. Scrape for a pond has been excavated, and there are streams and a canal bound the orchard as well as mature woodland, meadow, marshland and arable fields nearby. Wild life has been surveyed. The orchard and wood is on the Parston Way and walks from the nearby town of North Walsham are promoted. There is full access to the orchard at all times. Contact: Peter Croot, Daneshill, 6 White Lion Road, Coltishall, Norwich NR12 7AR, +44(0)1603 737427, petercroot[at]fsmail.net or see www.pigneys-wood.co.uk
Swaffham Ecotech Centre Orchard, Swaffham Ecotech Centre, Turbine Way, Swaffham PE37 7HT. The EcoTech Orchard was created by the EcoTech Garden Group, who support the organic gardens in the grounds of the EcoTech Centre. It covers about 0.5acre and lies near the food of one of the largest wind turbines in the UK. The trees were planted in 1999 with funding from Norfolk County Council and Breckland District Council. More trees were added in February 2001 from stock grafted at the orchard the previous year, bringing the total number of trees to 57. Most of the fruits are of local origin and they hope to add to the orchard until they have a complete collection. The original 40 trees are on standard rootstocks and the more recent additions are on dwarfing rootstock and form an avenue along the path, which passes through the orchard. The orchard is managed organically and the land beneath the trees has been sown with a meadow grass and wild flower mix to create a spring flowering meadow. Winding paths are mown between the trees and a seat is also provided. The orchard is open to Centre visitors all year round and the grounds are open free to all on several garden open days each year. The orchard is also used as an educational facility with seasonal workshops on orchard skills, apple identification, etc. The fruit will be used in the Centre café. Contact: Stewart Weaver, Education manager, Swaffham Ecotech Centre, Turbine Way, Swaffham PE37 7HT, +44(0)1760 726100 or see www.ecotech.org.uk
Saxlingham Meadows Orchard, Saxlingham Meadows, between the main village of Saxlingham Nethergate and Saxllngham Green (grid ref TM 2349G7). An orchard of Norfolk apple varieties was planted in around 2006 as part of a project to transform seven acres of arable land into woodland and meadows. The land is next to playing fields and children’s play areas. Work began in 2005 and is expected to take several years. Funding was received from Defra and the Living Spaces Programme. The aim is to create a practical community space, which can be used for a range of village events, within an open natural area that has conservation value for both plants and wildlife, and that in time It should support a range of locally occurring species, which will hopefully provide interest to lots of different groups, at various levels. The apple orchard was planted to commemorate the life of Charlie English, a local farmer and sportsman, who cared so much about the village and the playing field. Norfolk apple varieties were chosen, with the help of the East of England Apples and Orchards Project, and the trees are labelled to help visitors identify them. Existing boundary hedges of hawthorn and blackthorn, with the occasional crab apple, spindle and fleld rose have been reinforced. There are also boundary trees including birch, ash and oak. A classic clay-land hedge mix of field maple, spindle, hawthorn, blackthorn, holly and hazel was planted. There are picnic benches, beehives, owl and bat boxes. There are plans to hold a village' Apple Day' in the future which could Involve games, talks, the recording of fruit trees In the parish, competitions etc. Contact: Sarah Long, sarah[at]eastgatehouse.freeserve.co.uk
Stow Hall in Stow Bardolph, near Downham Market grow over 60 varieties of apple which are available for tasting and to buy at their Apple Day celebrations each year.
Three Gates Farm, off Rectory Road or Church Road, Aldeby, Beccles (Grid ref: TM455938). Three Gates Farm, a Woodland Trust reserve, has remnants of its history of market gardening and fruit growing amongst woodland planted by the Trust in 1987 and in the 1990s with predominantly broad-leaved native trees. The remnant orchard is mostly of pear trees with some apples. It is being partially restored with new apple and pear trees of Norfolk varieties while some of the orchard will have minimal intervention with dead and decaying trees and scrub left for their wild life value. The Norfolk Biodiversity Action Plan includes traditional orchards as a priority habitat. The East of England Apples and Orchard Project is helping with the partial restoration and replanting. Contact: Woodland Trust, Autumn Park, Dysart Road, Grantham, Lincs NG31 6LL, +44(0)1476 581111 or see www.woodland-trust.org.uk
Where to buy apples and orchards produce
The Apple and Pear People, Wroxham Barns, Hoveton have around 20 varieties of apples and pears plus single variety juices, +44(0)1603 783850.
Banham Cider and Cider Shed, The Appleyard, Kenninghall Road, Banham, NR16 2HB, +44(0)1953 888593.
Crones Organic Apple Juice, Fairview, Dam Green, Kenninghall NR16 2DP (single variety).
Greenwood's Apple Juice & Cider, The Ashes, Carlton Rode, Norwich NR16 1NN, +44(0)1603 403386.
Local foods information in 'Food for Thought - A Directory of Norfolk Food' from Shaping the Future, +44(0)1603 222633.
Norfolk Cider Company, and Norfolk Apple Juice Ltd, Wroxham Barns, Tunstead Road, Hoveton, NR12 8QU, +44(0)1603 784876. use apples grown by the Norfolk Fruit Growers to produce juice including single varieties, and sweet, medium and dry cider. Sold in local shops, hotels and at the Stow Hall Apple Day, Stow Bardolph, Kings Lynn. At Wroxham Barns with other fruit growers (including Apple & Pear People), craft workshops and gift shops. See the Wroxham Barns web-site.
Plumbe & Maufe, The Parsonage, Burnham Thorpe PE31 8HW, 30 plum varieties, gages and apples, available for pick your own and ready picked in season. They also make apple juice and jam from their own fruit. +44(0)1328 738311 or see www.pmfarming.co.uk
Tastes of Anglia - call +44(0)1473 785883 or look at their web-site.
Whin Hill Cider Ltd, The Stables, Stearman's Yard, Wells-next-the-Sea NR23 1BW. Cider & apple juice, +44(0)1328 711033.
Dishes to look out for
Norfolk Biffins – dried apple baked in a long, slow oven.
Fen Country Apple Cake - double puff pastry crust filled with a mixture of apples and semolina layered with currants and treacle.
Apple Johns / Jacks - apple dumplings made with short crust pastry.
Where to buy fruit trees
Chris Bowers & Sons, Whispering Trees Nurseries, Wimbotsham PE34 8QB has 170 varieties of apples and pears, cider apples,plums and nuts, +44(0)1366 388752.
Ranworth Trees, Woodbastwick Road, Ranworth have around 120 varieties of apples including many Norfolk varieties, plus pears, cherries, plums, +44(0)1603 270755.
Trees can be purchased from the East of England Apples and Orchards Project. Contact: treesales [at] applesandorchards. org. uk or call +44(0)1328 838403 for a catalogue of 170 varieties local to the East of England.
or you can order trees mail order from a number of nurseries that stock a wide range including:
Keepers Nursery in Kent +44(0)1622 726465 or see their web-site.
Thornhayes in Devon +44(0)1884 266746 or see their web-site.
Please let us know if you know of a good fruit tree nursery in Norfolk.