Orchard groups, produce and services in the East of England.

Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire has an important fruit growing history and one of the most successful plant breeders in the world was based near Bedford – Thomas Laxton was born in 1830 at Tinwell near Stamford. He had a love of plant breeding and had experimental grounds on the Kimbolton and London Roads and at Girtford in Sandy.

His sons and grandsons followed in his footsteps, and together they produced an amazing number of new varieties of apples – such as Lord Lambourne, Laxton’s Epicure, Laxton’s Fortune, Laxton’s Superb and Barnack Orange; plums – Laxton’s Gage, Early Laxton, Laxton’s Supreme; pears, gooseberries, raspberries, currants and strawberries – such as Royal Sovereign.

After his death in 1893, his sons carried on his work on 140 acres known as ‘Laxton’s Land’ at Goldington Road (now covered by Bedfordshire College of Higher Education and two schools). They also opened a shop at 63 High Street, Bedford which remained until 1957.

Bedfordshire orchard groups

To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map

  • Orchards East is a multi-region environmental and cultural project covering six counties in the east of England – Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.Funded by the Heritage Lottery fund and based in the School of History at the University of East Anglia (UEA), it is devoted to discovering and understanding the past, present and future of orchards in Eastern England, and will last for four years.

  • East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP), works to ensure a future for local orchard fruits and orchards. It covers Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. They supply local variety fruit trees, attend Apple Days, run workshops and produce a newsletter.  There are about 250 local fruit varieties and EEAOP work to preserve the varieties and their orchard habitat for their local significance, genetic diversity, as local food sources and for their landscape and wildlife value.

  • Bedfordshire and Luton Orchard Group (BLOG) is a countywide organisation representing conservation societies and local people. We aim to bring together like minded people to help survey, conserve and enjoy the county’s orchard heritage. BLOG is managed by a steering group of interested individuals who meet to promote and manage Bedfordshire’s orchards.

 

Where to buy trees in Bedfordshire

 

Orchard services and produce in Bedfordshire

  • The Cambridge Juice Company are a Cambridgeshire based independent, family wholesaler, that has served Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire for nearly 100 years providing local produce, originally on market stalls over the years and now delivering throughout East Anglia in our vans. From Fruit You Eat To Fruit You Drink!

Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire is a county of commercial orchards growing Cox’s Orange Pippin, Bramley’s Seedling, Conference pears and Victoria plums. The growth of orchards in Cambridgeshire, particularly around Histon and Wisbech, was encouraged by the jam making industry. John Chivers established his factory at Histon in 1873.

The Habitat Action Plan for Cambridgeshire includes traditional orchards for their importance to wild life. The Dry Drayton Parish Map refers to the community’s orchards: “Orchards have been planted in the village since c1900, with plums being the dominant fruit, grown for the production of plum jam. Apples took over as the main crop from about the mid 1930s. As the market for local apples diminished, so did the orchards, with the last of the Chivers fruit trees being pulled up in 1999”.

There is an orchard in the grounds of Girton College, Cambridge University. The grounds are semi-wild, unlike the formal lawned grounds of many of the Colleges.

Huntingdonshire once had extensive apple and plum orchards, particularly around Colne and Bluntisham

Cambridgeshire orchard groups

To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map

  • Orchards East is a multi-region environmental and cultural project covering six counties in the east of England – Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.Funded by the Heritage Lottery fund and based in the School of History at the University of East Anglia (UEA), it is devoted to discovering and understanding the past, present and future of orchards in Eastern England, and will last for four years.

  • East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP) – works to ensure a future for local orchard fruits and orchards. It covers Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. They supply local variety fruit trees, attend Apple Days, run workshops and produce a newsletter.  There are about 250 local fruit varieties and EEAOP work to preserve the varieties and their orchard habitat for their local significance, genetic diversity, as local food sources and for their landscape and wildlife value.

  • Cambridgeshire Orchard Group – working to communicate the value of traditional orchards to planners to better protect the remaining orchard resource and to encourage new plantings.

 

Where to buy trees in Cambridgeshire

 

Orchard services and produce in Cambridgeshire

  • Cambridge Organic Food Company run a box scheme of organic fruit and veg, eggs, flour and other produce. Their apples, Bramley, Spartan and Grenadiers, are grown at their organic orchard at Aston Organic Orchard, Risby, Bury St. Edmunds, which was converted to organic status in 1988.

  • Cam Valley Orchards Farm Shop – grow over 30 varieties of plums, 50 varieties of apples, 5 varieties of pears and 4 varieties of cherries. Produce 14 single variety apple juices. Also make jam, chutney, and cider. Available from farms shops, local shops and pubs. Plums supplied to supermarkets. 25 Whitcroft Road, Meldreth, Royston SG8 6ND, 07770 461685

  • Cromwell Cider – Hand crafted Ciders and Perry. We offer a delicious choice of ciders, made from a variety of British apples to create an array of tastes.

  • La Hogue Farm Shop produce is sourced locally and seasonally where possible. Fruit and vegetables, dairy, wines and ales, meat and game. Chippenham, 3 miles north of Newmarket, 01638 751128

  • Watergull Orchards is a family business producing around 20 single variety juices including Grenadier, Howgate Wonder, Laxton’s Fortune, plus apple & elderflower and apple & ginger. They use fruit from their own orchards plus old orchards within Cambridgeshire. Widely available in the area and also online.

  • The Cambridge Cider Company make hand crafted Cider and Perries from locally sourced, hand picked and unsprayed fruit. We believe in letting our exceptional Cambridgeshire (and some neighbouring counties) apples speak for themselves. All of our ciders and Perries are high juice content (>95%), unfiltered and unpasteurised. Our production techniques subscribes to CAMRA’s definition of real cider. We never, ever, use concentrate!

  • The Cambridge Juice Company are a Cambridgeshire based independent, family wholesaler, that has served Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire for nearly 100 years providing local produce, originally on market stalls over the years and now delivering throughout East Anglia in our vans. From Fruit You Eat To Fruit You Drink!

Essex

Essex orchard groups

To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map

  • Orchards East is a multi-region environmental and cultural project covering six counties in the east of England – Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Funded by the Heritage Lottery fund and based in the School of History at the University of East Anglia (UEA), it is devoted to discovering and understanding the past, present and future of orchards in Eastern England, and will last for four years.

  • East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP) – works to ensure a future for local orchard fruits and orchards. It covers Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. They supply local variety fruit trees, attend Apple Days, run workshops and produce a newsletter.  There are about 250 local fruit varieties and EEAOP work to preserve the varieties and their orchard habitat for their local significance, genetic diversity, as local food sources and for their landscape and wildlife value.

  • ESORG – Essex Orchard Group is a group of orchard enthusiasts, both professional and amateur. Meetings are often held in a pub and we have orchard visits in the summer. All contributions are welcome. During Covid we had Zoom meetings and these may be a continuing feature in the winter. A wide range of topics are discussed and information exchanged. Membership is not confined to people living in Essex. To join, please contact Anna Baldwin at anna@annabaldwin.co.uk.

 

Where to buy trees in Essex

  • East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP) – catalogue has over 240 varieties of apples, pears, plums and cherries. Supply standard or half standard bare-root trees.

  • Ken Muir Ltd – More than fifty varieties of apples, pears, plums, cherries, quince, mulberries and more.

  • Honeypot farm, Rectory Road, Weeley Heath, Clacton on Sea, C016 9BJ. 0870 7479111

 

Orchard services and produce in Essex

  • Crapes Fruit Farm – Over 150 varieties of apple grown, available from the farm shop or by mail order. Also plums, cherries, quince and medlars.

  • Andrew Tann, Rectory Road, Aldham, Colchester C06 3RR

  • 01206 212375

  • Lathcoats Farm – Queen, raised in Billericay in 1858, is just one of forty different varieties grown, which, along with 12 single variety juices, are available from farm shop.

  • Philip Taylor, Beehive Lane, Galleywood, Chelmsford CM2 8LX, 01245 353021

  • Park Fruit Farm grow 39 varieties of apples, 10 varieties of plums and damsons, 4 varieties of pears. Available from farm shop and PYO. Press own apple juice.

  • Pork Lane, Great Holland, Frinton-on-Sea C013 0ES, 01255 674621

  • Spencer’s Farm Shop  grow 18 varieties of apple. Also cherries. Available from farmshop and PYO.

  • Wickham Fruit Farm, Wickham St Pauls, Halstead C09 2PX, 01787 269476

  • Wilkins of Tiptree  -The Tiptree farms cover 850 acres. Amongst their extensive acreage of soft and top fruit, they grow 8 – 10 acres of quinces and have a dozen very old mulberry trees and medlars for their quince and medlar jellies and mulberry jam.   They have created a new orchard with 6,000 fruit trees, including many old English apple varieties, nuts, cherries and pears as well as apricots and peaches. Tiptree is a major grower of the Cambridge Gage. “This variety is considered to have such a good flavour that it is the only variety of greengage used in its jams”. At the visitor centre you can buy all the jams, conserves, marmalades and jellies. Products available widely in shops, supermarkets and hotels. Also available online.

  • Big Bear Cider Mill – Located in Essex, our apples are grown in our orchards and the cider is hand crafted at Rayleigh Orchard, Tumblers green, Braintree, Essex. Our mission is to turn a passion for apples into quality hand-crafted cider. Find out more here.

 

Other links

  • Audley End –  large restored walled kitchen garden with trained fruit trees.

Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire orchard groups

To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map

  • Orchards East is a multi-region environmental and cultural project covering six counties in the east of England – Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.Funded by the Heritage Lottery fund and based in the School of History at the University of East Anglia (UEA), it is devoted to discovering and understanding the past, present and future of orchards in Eastern England, and will last for four years.

  • The Hertfordshire Orchard Initiative (HOI) is a working group of Local Government Officers, Orchard Owners and Wildlife Experts who care passionately about Hertfordshire’s orchards their heritage, wildlife value and their future. HOI represents the Habitat Action Plan group for orchards as part of the Hertfordshire Biodiversity Action Plan. Members include Tewin Orchard, Stanley Lord Orchard (Shenley Park), Highfield Park Orchard (St Albans), Rivers Community Orchard (Sawbridgeworth) and Codicote Community Orchard.

  • East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP) – works to ensure a future for local orchard fruits and orchards. It covers Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. They supply local variety fruit trees, attend Apple Days, run workshops and produce a newsletter.  There are about 250 local fruit varieties and EEAOP work to preserve the varieties and their orchard habitat for their local significance, genetic diversity, as local food sources and for their landscape and wildlife value.

  • Rivers Heritage Site and Orchard – Formed in May 2014, Rivers Heritage Site and Orchard (RHSO) is a volunteer group who work to protect, preserve and maintain the remaining Rivers Nursery site in Sawbridgeworth, UK and also to maintain the historical information about the Rivers Nursery in the group’s archives. The Rivers nursery was founded by John Rivers in 1725 and, when it closed in 1987, it was the oldest garden nursery in the UK. Many fruit cultivars and horticultural techniques were developed on the site in Sawbridgeworth, especially by Thomas Rivers (1798-1877) and Thomas Francis Rivers (1830-1899).

 

Where to buy trees in Hertfordshire

 

Orchard services and produce in Hertfordshire

  • The Cambridge Juice Company are a Cambridgeshire based independent, family wholesaler, that has served Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire for nearly 100 years providing local produce, originally on market stalls over the years and now delivering throughout East Anglia in our vans. From Fruit You Eat To Fruit You Drink!

  • Apple Cottage Cider – Producers of award winning Cider & Juice in the heart of Baldock, Hertfordshire. We pride ourselves in bringing the orchard to you. We are a small family run business, who love apples.

  • Shenley Park – We sell apples and juice from our many heritage apple trees growing in our orchards and around the park at our stall next to the walled garden, and on Apple Day. We also produce apple juice for outside clients: minimum of 500 good quality freshly picked apples required.

 

Other links

  • OPAL East of England (University of Hertfordshire) orchard guides – The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) Network together with the Field Studies Council have developed 2 guides, one to lichens and the other to mosses, in the orchards of the East of England.

  • Shenley Park – An independent self financing rural Park in Hertfordshire that is free to use. Once a private Estate known as Porters Park, then a site of a Mental Hospital. Over 130 varieties of apple.

  • Aldenham Country Park has planted 90 heritage fruit trees.

Norfolk

“Apple trees and orchards have been part of the Norfolk landscape since at least medieval times. Over the centuries many different varieties of apple have been developed to suit the county’s climate and varying soil types. Everyone, from the lord of the manor to the humble cottager, found space for apple trees. A valuable natural resource, they provided fruit for eating and cooking, fruit for storing and using over the winter months, fruits for cyder-making and surplus fruit for sale in the markets. Tudor Norwich in the reign of Elizabeth I was described as ‘either a city in an orchard or an orchard in a city, so equally were houses and fruit trees planted. Today more than two-thirds of the county’s old apple orchards have disappeared and the remaining commercial growers prefer non-native apples. Despite this, nearly forty Norfolk apple varieties still exist, and there are written records of another thirty which have been ‘lost’.”

From ‘Help us to find Norfolk’s lost apples’, a leaflet by the East of England Apples and Orchards Project

Norfolk orchard groups

To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map

  • Orchards East is a multi-region environmental and cultural project covering six counties in the east of England – Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.Funded by the Heritage Lottery fund and based in the School of History at the University of East Anglia (UEA), it is devoted to discovering and understanding the past, present and future of orchards in Eastern England, and will last for four years.

  • East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP) – works to ensure a future for local orchard fruits and orchards. It covers Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. They supply local variety fruit trees, attend Apple Days, run workshops and produce a newsletter.  There are about 250 local fruit varieties and EEAOP work to preserve the varieties and their orchard habitat for their local significance, genetic diversity, as local food sources and for their landscape and wildlife value.

 

Where to buy trees in Norfolk

  • Chris Bowers & Sons, Whispering Trees Nurseries has 170 varieties of apples and pears, cider apples, plums, medlars, quince, gages, cherries, damsons and nuts on various rootstocks.

  • Wimbotsham PE34 8QB. 01366 388752.

  • East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP) – catalogue has over 240 varieties of apples, pears, plums and cherries. Supply standard or half standard bare-root trees.

  • Foundry Nursery & Ranworth Trees – around 25 apples, plus pears, cherries, plums, gages, quince, medlar, nuts etc

  • Tasburgh, Norwich, Norfolk, NR15 1NS. 01508 470357

  • Apple Revival – Specialist grower of rare apple trees. Locates and identifies rare varieties.

 

Orchard services and produce in Norfolk

  • Crones Organic Apple Juice – single variety

  • Fairview, Dam Green, Kenninghall NR16 2DP

  • Whin Hill Norfolk Cider – traditional Norfolk cider, perry and juices produced from apples from own orchards. Sell different ciders and also apple brandy. Available from shop in Wells-next-the-Sea or online.

  • Plumbe & Maufe – 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. Over 3,000 trees.

  • Norfolk Pure Apple Juice – Ashill Fruit Farm – The orchard mainly comprises thirty different varieties of apples, three varieties of pears, and various varieties of plums and soft fruits. Produce single variety and blends of cloudy apple juice. Available through farm shop or online.

  • Sandringham Estate Apple Juice – produce 8 varieties of apple juice. It is served at Buckingham Palace garden parties and receptions and is available for purchase in shops and supermarkets.

 

Other links

  • EcoTech Centre, Swaffham – Heritage Orchard has over 50 varieties of apple, pear, plum, quince and medlar trees growing here. Many are old Norfolk varieties, dating back over 200 years. Blackcurrant and gooseberry bushes between the trees, a time-honoured practice carried out across Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. The Green Britain Centre has displays and information on Energy, Transport and Food.

  • Norfolk Rural Life Museum – The museum’s orchard is planted on the site of the workhouse burial ground and was planted as an orchard in the 1920s with traditional East Anglian varieties. This orchard is a reference library for people seeking to identify their own trees. The orchard helps ensure a sustainable future for historic apple varieties and is managed in partnership with the East of England Apple and Orchard Project (EEAOP). New trees have been planted in the southern half since 1998.

  • Norfolk Scrumpers – Apple pressing and bottling service. Based in rural south Norfolk, at Norfolk Scrumpers we offer a service for people who would like their apples pressed. We press, pasteurise and bottle apple juice into Burgundy style bottles. The juice produced is cloudy with nothing added other than vitamin C to retain its original colour. We use sustainably sourced waste fire wood to fire our boiler for pasteurising the juice. Outside of the juicing season we prune and manage orchards using chemical free processes and we prioritise low impact approaches. Our aim is to tie in with more charities, social enterprises and community groups to further promote connections to our national food crop.

Suffolk

Suffolk orchard groups

To find community orchards local to you, see our community orchard map

  • Orchards East is a multi-region environmental and cultural project covering six counties in the east of England – Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.Funded by the Heritage Lottery fund and based in the School of History at the University of East Anglia (UEA), it is devoted to discovering and understanding the past, present and future of orchards in Eastern England, and will last for four years.

  • Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group (STOG) aims to record and protect old orchard sites; to promote the new planting of traditional orchard fruit and nut varieties; and to preserve and disseminate the practice, cultural and historical value of orchards through education and publication. Through identifying and recording old and modern orchards managed in a traditional manner in Suffolk.Researching and recording the history, landscape, practice and culture of traditional fruit and nut cultivation in Suffolk through archival and oral research. Assisting in the restoration and replanting of suitable orchard sites in Suffolk. Establishing county collections of traditional Suffolk fruit and nut varieties in new or restored traditional orchards. Engaging in activities that disseminate the history and culture of orchards in Suffolk through publications and education. Provide information for members online and through downloadable Advice Notes, and newsletters that include news and activity calendars of events of courses, visits and surveys. The new STOG Orchards East project website is here.

  • East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP) – works to ensure a future for local orchard fruits and orchards. It covers Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. They supply local variety fruit trees, attend Apple Days, run workshops and produce a newsletter.  There are about 250 local fruit varieties and EEAOP work to preserve the varieties and their orchard habitat for their local significance, genetic diversity, as local food sources and for their landscape and wildlife value.

 

Where to buy trees in Suffolk

  • Suffolk Fruit and Trees – Standard orchard pack consists of five untrained trees. Apple, pear, plum, cherry, apricot, peach, nectarine, sweet chestnut, walnut, crab apple, cob nut, medlar, black mulberry, quince.

  • East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP) – catalogue has over 240 varieties of apples, pears, plums and cherries. Supply standard or half standard bare-root trees.

 

Orchard services and produce in Suffolk

  • Aspall – Apple juice and cyder, and cyder vinegar. In production since 1728. Large variety of ciders and widely available. 46 varieties of apple.

  • High House Fruit Farm – Apples, pears, plums, apple juice. Produce sold locally.

  • Sudbourne, Woodbridge 1P12 2BL. 01394 450263

  • Copella Fruit Juices Ltd – Apple juices. Widely available. Owned by PepsiCo.

  • James White Apple Juice & Cider – Fruit and organic juices and ciders. Vegetable juice. Wide range of products, widely available. Also online.

  • Maynard House Orchards – Press and bottle 10 varieties of apple juice on the farm. Available in own farmshops, local farmers markets or online.

  • The Orchards, The Street, Bradfield Combust, Bury St Edmunds IP30 OLP

  • Metfield Stores is a community shop in Metfield, community run and specialising in local produce. They stock local apples in season, including some from very local trees.

  • Stoke Farm Orchards Battisford, Stowmarket – produce delicious blended apple juices at the farm. Sold by East of England Co-op under the Sourced Locally label.

  • Suffolk Heritage Orchards – George Hodgkinson grows old varieties of apples, greengages and plums including local vareties such as apples St Edmunds Pippin from Bury St Edmunds, and Sturmer Pippin from Sturmer near Haverhill, plus the Suffolk plum, Coe’s Golden Drop. The concept is to grow rare local varieties plus varieties known to have been grown in Suffolk, that are not available to buy in the shops. The orchards, of dwarf rootstock, cover about 4.5 acres. Twelve varieties of apple and six of plum.

  • The Hall, Church Hill, Monks Eleigh, Ipswich IP7 7JQ 01449 740478

 

Other links

  • Norfolk Scrumpers – Apple pressing and bottling service. Based in rural south Norfolk, at Norfolk Scrumpers we offer a service for people who would like their apples pressed. We press, pasteurise and bottle apple juice into Burgundy style bottles. The juice produced is cloudy with nothing added other than vitamin C to retain its original colour. We use sustainably sourced waste fire wood to fire our boiler for pasteurising the juice. Outside of the juicing season we prune and manage orchards using chemical free processes and we prioritise low impact approaches. Our aim is to tie in with more charities, social enterprises and community groups to further promote connections to our national food crop.