Orchard groups, produce and services in the North West.

Cheshire

John Gittins (former Executive Director, Cheshire Orchard Project) writes:

“Cheshire is not, in a national context regarded as an area renowned for fruit growing. It does not spring to mind as readily as Kent or Herefordshire, but for all that, Cheshire has a rich history of fruit growing from nursery production to market sales. However, to date we already know of 32 apple cultivars, which have been developed in the County and no doubt there are more. We know very little about varieties of pear but our Cheshire Damson is relished far and wide.

You do not have to travel far in rural Cheshire to appreciate that most of the older farms, small holdings and cottages still have the remains of orchard trees either in the garden hedgerow or in grassy paddocks set close to the house. With large areas of the County containing residential housing dating from the mid-Victorian period through to pre-Second World War, it was common practice to include fruit trees and orchards in the garden landscape schemes, and some of these trees still survive. Fruit evidence is also to be found on Ordnance Survey maps and in field names across the county.

Up to the late 1940s, the large conurbations of Manchester and Liverpool were supplied with much of their fresh fruit from local sources, but in line with the rest of the country, most of the fruit now comes from abroad.

Cheshire orchard groups

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

  • Northern Fruit Group – Formed in 1995, The Northern Fruit Group is a membership based group of individuals interested in the growing of fruit. Ability ranges from amateur gardeners interested in fruit but having little knowledge through to professional fruit growers. Membership of the group exceeds 300.The group holds regular meetings at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate with talks given by invited speakers. A newsletter is published four times a year. There is at least one visit each year to a garden, orchard or commercial fruit farm. The Group is developing teaching and demonstration gardens in the Walled Garden at Harewood House, near Leeds; on allotments at Dewhurst Road, Huddersfield and in Hexthorpe, Doncaster. The group ethos is one of sharing practical skills; members are encouraged to come along and take part in the practical days held at the various garden sites.A number of Workshops are held including:- summer and winter pruning, bench grafting and buddingThe group also produces a number of leaflets, which include:-
    Suggested Cultivars for the North details the cultuvars that members grow and some obervations on their performance.

 

Where to buy trees in Cheshire

  • Heathfield Orchards  – grow own apple trees, mainly Cheshire varieties and other heritage apples, mostly on MM106 rootstock. Most of the trees are bare rooted but a number are in pots.  Call Katie Lowe on 01244 335059 or 07870 140520 or Pete Tonge on 01244 335059 or 07981 047259

  • F.Morrey & Son, Forest Nursery – Cheshire damsons available. Also apples, pears, plums etc. Near Tarporley, Cheshire CW6 0SN, 01829 751342

  • Fruits of the Forage – A sustainable preserves company that gathers heritage fruits that would otherwise go to waste from abandoned orchards and hedgerows across the UK. By combining these fruits with wild plants they capture a unique taste of the British landscape.
    Fruits of the Forage want to give back to the British landscape, enriching the environment for wildlife and future generations. If you are a landowner who cares for the land you can help their project. Fruits of the Forage will donate trees including Damsons, traditional plum, apple, pear and wild plants such as elderberry to be planted in hedgerows and small scale orchards. All they ask in return is permission to pick any surplus fruit.
    If you would like to get involved in this project please email bert@fruitsoftheforage.co.uk

Orchard services and produce in Cheshire

  • Willington Fruit Farm – The Farm shop at Willington Fruit Farm is set in the heart of Cheshire surrounded by the Sandstone trail & Delamere Forest. Winsors fruit farm shop is a family run business established over 60 years ago. Our shop sells apples, award winning home pressed apple juice, Winsors Cheshire Dry Cider and all the usual fruit produce. Hillside Farm, Chapel Lane, Willington, Tarporley, Cheshire, CW6 OPH. 01829 751216

 

Other links

  • Heathfield Orchards Consultancy – Services offered include orchard management plans, grafting trees to order, planting orchards, formative pruning on young trees, advice on renovating old orchards, grafting workshops. Contact Katie Lowe. 01244 335059 kjlowe@tiscali.co.uk

Cumbria

Although not as traditionally associated with orchards as more southerly and easterly areas of England, in years gone by, most of the farms in North Cumbria had a small orchard to supply fruit for the family and farm workers.

Westmorland damsons of the Lyth and Winster Valley near Kendal are a little smaller and sharper than their Shropshire relatives. The trees are scattered all over the valley – along stonewalls, in field corners, near the schoolyard – anywhere where the thin soils allow. Like the Kea plum, these damsons continue to be sold locally for picking and jamming. They can be enjoyed fresh and make a good-flavoured ice-cream.

Cumbria orchard groups

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

  • Northern Fruit Group – Formed in 1995, The Northern Fruit Group is a membership based group of individuals interested in the growing of fruit. Ability ranges from amateur gardeners interested in fruit but having little knowledge through to professional fruit growers. Membership of the group exceeds 300.The group holds regular meetings at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate with talks given by invited speakers. A newsletter is published four times a year. There is at least one visit each year to a garden, orchard or commercial fruit farm. The Group is developing teaching and demonstration gardens in the Walled Garden at Harewood House, near Leeds; on allotments at Dewhurst Road, Huddersfield and in Hexthorpe, Doncaster. The group ethos is one of sharing practical skills; members are encouraged to come along and take part in the practical days held at the various garden sites.A number of Workshops are held including:- summer and winter pruning, bench grafting and buddingThe group also produces a number of leaflets, which include:-
    Suggested Cultivars for the North details the cultuvars that members grow and some obervations on their performance.

  • North Cumbria Orchard Group – North Cumbria Orchard Group is an independent association founded in 2010 to conserve, promote and celebrate orchards in North Cumbria. The Group seeks to preserve what is left of these orchards and to encourage the planting of new orchard trees to conserve local varieties and to establish varieties that perform well in the local climate.

  • South Lakeland Orchard Group – The South Lakeland Orchard Group was formed in 2007 with the aim to conserve, maintain and renovate existing fruit orchards and encourage the planting of new orchards in the South Lakeland area recognising the importance of bio-diversity and the preservation of old local varieties of fruit. Many members are re-invigorating their orchards using the traditional techniques used for hundreds of years in orchards. Others are actually planning new orchards for posterity. Members have a wide knowledge about orchard maintenance, and also there is unparalled experience of local heritage varieties.

  • Westmorland Damson Association – The Westmorland Damson Association formed in 1996 to restore the Westmorland damson orchards to their former glory, to promote the cultivation and use of Westmorland’s damsons and much more. Each April thousands of visitors celebrate its Damson Day, started in the 1990s, a chance to buy damson ice cream, wine, pickled damsons, tarts, pies, cakes and damson cheese.

Where to buy trees in Cumbria

  • South Lakeland Orchard Group – SLOG has apple trees for sale, grafted this year. SLOG has specially selected varieties and rootstocks that do well in the North West.

  • Low Stanger Farm – Various varieties available including Cockermouth Codlin, others can be grafted to order

  • Fruits of the Forage – A sustainable preserves company that gathers heritage fruits that would otherwise go to waste from abandoned orchards and hedgerows across the UK. By combining these fruits with wild plants they capture a unique taste of the British landscape.
    Fruits of the Forage want to give back to the British landscape, enriching the environment for wildlife and future generations. If you are a landowner who cares for the land you can help their project. Fruits of the Forage will donate trees including Damsons, traditional plum, apple, pear and wild plants such as elderberry to be planted in hedgerows and small scale orchards. All they ask in return is permission to pick any surplus fruit.
    If you would like to get involved in this project please email bert@fruitsoftheforage.co.uk

 

Orchard services and produce in Cumbria

  • Staff Of Life Bakery  – Produce bread using flours from a local restored watermill, including a damson sourdough using the fermented yeast of the fruit, sourced from the Lyth Valley.

  • Low Stanger Farm – Growing organic apples since 1997.  Around 340 trees, and 80 different varieties, including many that are local to Cumbria or Scotland. Some of the traditional apples include Duke of Devonshire, Worcester Pearmain, Longstart,  Cockermouth Codling and Lorton Vale.

  • National Trust Acorn Bank – Our apple harvests will be for sale as they ripen, until stocks run out. Estimated to be from late August until November.

 

Other links

  • The Apples and Orchards of Cumbria – A comprehensive review of Cumbrian apple varieties and of Cumbrian orchards open to the public, by Andy Gilchrist.

  • Acorn Bank – National Trust garden near Temple Sowerby. Best known for its collection of 250 herbs and traditional fruit orchards.

  • The Dalemain Estate – There are ancient apple trees in the garden which are nearly 30 different named 18th/19th century varieties

Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester orchard groups

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

  • Northern Fruit Group – Formed in 1995, The Northern Fruit Group is a membership based group of individuals interested in the growing of fruit. Ability ranges from amateur gardeners interested in fruit but having little knowledge through to professional fruit growers. Membership of the group exceeds 300.The group holds regular meetings at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate with talks given by invited speakers. A newsletter is published four times a year. There is at least one visit each year to a garden, orchard or commercial fruit farm. The Group is developing teaching and demonstration gardens in the Walled Garden at Harewood House, near Leeds; on allotments at Dewhurst Road, Huddersfield and in Hexthorpe, Doncaster. The group ethos is one of sharing practical skills; members are encouraged to come along and take part in the practical days held at the various garden sites.A number of Workshops are held including:- summer and winter pruning, bench grafting and buddingThe group also produces a number of leaflets, which include:-
    Suggested Cultivars for the North details the cultuvars that members grow and some obervations on their performance.

 

Where to buy trees in Greater Manchester

  • Fruits of the Forage – A sustainable preserves company that gathers heritage fruits that would otherwise go to waste from abandoned orchards and hedgerows across the UK. By combining these fruits with wild plants they capture a unique taste of the British landscape.
    Fruits of the Forage want to give back to the British landscape, enriching the environment for wildlife and future generations. If you are a landowner who cares for the land you can help their project. Fruits of the Forage will donate trees including Damsons, traditional plum, apple, pear and wild plants such as elderberry to be planted in hedgerows and small scale orchards. All they ask in return is permission to pick any surplus fruit.
    If you would like to get involved in this project please email bert@fruitsoftheforage.co.uk

Other links

  • Abundance Manchester – Abundance Manchester is a voluntary project which picks surplus or unwanted fruit from gardens and public trees around South Manchester and distributes it to local groups and communities who can use it. We also collect and distribute surplus vegetables from allotments.

Lancashire

In Victorian times there were extensive orchards in an area to the west of Chorley and around the southern fringes of Preston and fruits taken to the markets of many rapidly growing northern towns. Grenadier apples were sent by train to the Barrow market from orchards to the north of Lancaster.

Some older Lancashire apple varieties still available today include Lord Suffield, Pott’s Seedling, Gold Medal, Sowman’s Seedling, Proctor’s Seedling, Golden Spire and Lady’s Delight . Duke of Devonshire and Keswick Codlin arose from the former Furness District of Lancashire. Scotch Bridget was much appreciated as a dual-purpose apple and is often seen in old N.W.orchards today.

Westmorland damsons of the Lyth and Winster Valley near Kendal are a little smaller and sharper than their Shropshire relatives. The trees are scattered all over the valley – along stonewalls, in field corners, near the schoolyard – anywhere where the thin soils allow. Like the Kea plum, these damsons continue to be sold locally for picking and jamming. They can be enjoyed fresh and make a good-flavoured ice-cream.

Lancashire orchard groups

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

  • Northern Fruit Group – Formed in 1995, The Northern Fruit Group is a membership based group of individuals interested in the growing of fruit. Ability ranges from amateur gardeners interested in fruit but having little knowledge through to professional fruit growers. Membership of the group exceeds 300.The group holds regular meetings at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Harrogate with talks given by invited speakers. A newsletter is published four times a year. There is at least one visit each year to a garden, orchard or commercial fruit farm. The Group is developing teaching and demonstration gardens in the Walled Garden at Harewood House, near Leeds; on allotments at Dewhurst Road, Huddersfield and in Hexthorpe, Doncaster. The group ethos is one of sharing practical skills; members are encouraged to come along and take part in the practical days held at the various garden sites.A number of Workshops are held including:- summer and winter pruning, bench grafting and buddingThe group also produces a number of leaflets, which include:-
    Suggested Cultivars for the North details the cultuvars that members grow and some obervations on their performance.

  •  South Lakeland Orchard Group – SLOG has apple trees for sale, grafted this year. SLOG has specially selected varieties and rootstocks that do well in the North West.

  • The South Ribble Orchard Project – Little Hoole. Monitors and researches many unidentified apples and pears grafted from remnant NW orchard trees. Links with orchard groups listed above. 

  • Middlewood Trust orchard plantings, High Roeburndale, nr Wray village

 

Where to buy trees in Lancashire

  • South Lakeland Orchard Group – SLOG has apple trees for sale, grafted this year. SLOG has specially selected varieties and rootstocks that do well in the North West. Varieties include Lancashire Scotch Bridget

  • R.V. Rogers of Pickering stock a selection of Lancashire apples

  • Fruits of the Forage – A sustainable preserves company that gathers heritage fruits that would otherwise go to waste from abandoned orchards and hedgerows across the UK. By combining these fruits with wild plants they capture a unique taste of the British landscape.
    Fruits of the Forage want to give back to the British landscape, enriching the environment for wildlife and future generations. If you are a landowner who cares for the land you can help their project. Fruits of the Forage will donate trees including Damsons, traditional plum, apple, pear and wild plants such as elderberry to be planted in hedgerows and small scale orchards. All they ask in return is permission to pick any surplus fruit.
    If you would like to get involved in this project please email bert@fruitsoftheforage.co.uk

 

Orchard services and produce in Lancashire

Other links

  • ‘Bridgets, Keswicks and Reinettes – Orchards of the Arnside & Silverdale AONB’  – which includes research into the value of orchards and the diversity of fruit varieties within the landscape of the AONB, a look at the unique history of selected orchards, practical advice on growing and maintaining fruit trees, and investigations into outlets for surplus fruit. Copies cost £3 from the Arnside & Silverdale AONB, The Old Station Building, Arnside, Carnforth, Lancashire LA5 0HG, 01524 761034.

  • Eccleston Apple Blossoms (2004); Lancashire Archives, Preston