Orchards, Trees & Orchard Produce
Orchards and Community Orchards to visit
Lackham Country Park, Lacock, Chippenham is home to Wiltshire College, an agricultural and rural life museum. The estate has a formal orchard featuring varieties of cooking and dessert apples. The orchard's origins go back to the early days of Lackham as a School of Agriculture during the 1950s. It covers nearly 4 acres and falls within Lackham's Farm Stewardship scheme. It is managed through Lackham Orchard Group (L.O.G.), a voluntary group of people who meet once a month for workdays. Contact: Andrew Davies, Museum Curator on +44(0)1249 466800 or daviaj[at]wiltscoll.ac.uk
Penhill Community Orchard (left), Westbury Road, Penhill, Swindon (Grid ref: SU148880. From Penhill Drive take the 3rd left opposite the shops and by the Deer’s Leap pub to Inglesham Road. Take the 2nd left (Westbury Road) which turns into a dust road before reaching the orchard. There is no parking). An orchard of 1.7 acres near Penhill housing estate and adjacent to Seven Fields Nature Reserve, Seven Fields School and Penhill Playing Fields. The land was previously unused allotments and is owned by Swindon Borough Council who had wanted to develop the land for housing, a threat that remains. Penhill Orchard Group, an independent community group, formed to start the orchard. They have a seven year lease from 2002 and hope that it will be renewed in 2009. The first trees were planted at Wassailing in the winter of 2002/3 with more planted in the following years. There are around forty-five apple varieties, four plum, five pear, three cherry and a mulberry chosen to give a long fruiting season. The rootstocks vary and include standards. A margin of grass is left along the fence-lines, a bird berry border is being planted and bug boxes installed. Wild life sightings are recorded. The orchard is surrounded by tall trees on three sides in the school grounds and nature reserve. Deer reach the orchard through wild life corridors. There are slowworms, badgers and many insects and birds. Ragwort attracts cinnabar moths. There are two locks-ups for storage and a canteen, with keys held by group members. There is full access to the orchard at all times. Further wassailing is planned, plus family picnics in the orchard. When the harvest is larger Apple Day will be celebrated. Contact: Marilyn Beale, 31 Avebury Road, Penhill, Swindon SN2 5JR, +44(0)1793 331516, penhill.orchard[at]ntlworld.com
Reeves Orchard, Bratton (from Westbury on entering Bratton go left up little lane called The Butts and left at the rectory. Below the park at the end is the orchard, a church and stream). The orchard occupies a warm sunny southern side of a steep stream valley facing the north escarpment of Salisbury Plain. The land was owned by the Reeves family who ran an ironworks and foundry in the village. The allotments on the upper slope are made on the bases of the hothouses that supplied the family with out of season fruits and vegetables. The pump house and pumps that drew water from the stream to supply the hothouses, are situated in the orchard but are not, currently, open for inspection. In 1936 a mixed orchard of 146 trees was planted in rows which run east to west. There are 11 different varieties of apples, including: Green Bramley, Ellisons Orange, Laxton’s Superb, Newton Wonder, Scarlet Bramley, Charles Ross, Peacemaker, Cox’s Orange Pippin, James Grieve and Heron Pippin, and several varieties of damson trees. The layout of the trees will be shown at the information centre/shelter that is planed for the northwest corner of the orchard in 2001. The orchard was gifted to the village in 1988, and lay dormant and heavily overgrown for some years prior to the Parish Council’s decision to institute a Conservation Management Plan in 1998. It is now managed by the council under Countryside Stewardship and has been divided into three distinct areas in accordance with the management plan. These are a fenced grazing area, a stream side wild life area where scrub has been retained and the main orchard area. The orchard provides a wide spectrum of possibilities for both study, for practical exercises and for simple enjoyment. Work parties are held to carry out necessary maintenance and pruning sessions have been organised with staff from Lackham College. They hope in the future to use the fruit for cider. The orchard is part of the annual Bratton Fete with a scavenger hunt amongst the apple trees. Contact: David Hogbin, Chair of the Parish Council, +44(0)1380 830299 or Bratton Parish Clerk, +44(0)1380 830765.
Stanton Country Park Orchard (left, photo with permission from Karl Curtis, Senior Ranger), Stanton Country Park, Stanton Fitzwarren, Swindon (from the A419 take the A361 and follow the Highworth Road, turn left after a mile onto a minor road signposted to Stanton Fitzwarren. Park entrance on left after first right hand bend). An apple orchard of thirty trees planted in 2004 around three trees of a remnant orchard, thought to be about one hundred years old within Stanton Country Park near Swindon, owned by the Borough Council. Access paths are cut in the grass but areas are left long for insects, and hedgerows are left wild. There are small mammals, amphibians, birds, and Roe Deer. Bird nesting boxes have been erected. The orchard is next to a large lake. The orchard is incorporated into Park events and community involvement is encouraged. Visitors are free to pick the apples. The Park is open from 7.30am until half an hour before sunset. Contact: Karl Curtis, Senior Ranger, The Ranger Centre, Stanton Country Park, The Avenue, Stanton Fitzwarren, Swindon SN6 7SF, +44(0)1793 829704, stantonrangers[at]swindon.gov.uk
Where to buy apples and orchard produce
Archers Country Chutney, Boydon, Marlborough +44(0)1672 540534. Produce chutneys including Apple Chutney and Marrow and Apple Chutney which were awarded Bronze and Gold awards respectively, by the Guild of Fine Food retailers, sponsored by Fortnum & Mason. Local apples are used in season, and the chutneys are sold in shops locally, and by mail order.
John & Rosemary Tuck at Highgate Farm ,Wootton Bassett, produce apple juice and a huge range of preserves. Chutneys include Apple, Beetroot & Apple, Elderberry & Apple, Farmhouse Apple & Cider, Hot & Spicey Apple, Wild Plum, Pumpkin, Apple & Pepper, Tomato & Apple. Jams include Damson, Plum & Hazelnut, Plum & Rum Conserve. Jellies include Medlar, Quince, Pear, Crab apple, Crab Apple & Bullace. Also Spiced Crab Apples, Pickled Damsons, Apple Juice, Pear Juice, Apple & Pear Juice, Apple & Blackberry Juice, Quince & Apple Juice, Elderflower Cordial. Low sugar recipes available, plus cakes, marmalades, mustards and curds. They will also press juice from your own surplus apples at 80p per litre. +44(0)1793 850999 or email tuck.highgate[at]talk21.com
Thornham Farm Cider, Great Thornham Farm, Seend SN12 6PN, +44(0)1380 828295.
Where to buy fruit trees
Barters Plant Centre, Chapmanslade, nr Westbury . They sell around 20 varieties of apple, plus plums, nuts, damsons, quince, mulberry, cherries and celebrate Apple Day. Call +44(0)1373 832694 or see their web-site.
Landford Trees, Landford, nr Salisbury, offer around 30 varieties of apple plus cherry. Medlar, mulberry, plum, pear and quince. Call +44(0)1794 390808 or see their web-site.