People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), a UK-based wildlife charity has released the most recent factor in its continued orchard conservation programme: an interactive community orchard map, which lists in the region of 400 community orchard groups that are scattered around the UK.
PTES has been successful in identifying more than 35,000 traditional orchards that are still remaining in England, with in excess of 7,000 remaining in Wales.
Since the 1950s, there has, sadly, been a large decline in orchards, with the study showing 90% of traditional orchards being lost. However, it’s certainly not all doom and gloom, because the new interactive map gives everyone and anyone the chance to discover everything from the nearest community orchard, to locally sourced fruit and other people who also want to enjoy orchards and wildlife. By using orchards as a public green space, it creates an effective way of safeguarding orchards against development and encourages sustainability.
PTES’ new map gives people who already have an existing community orchard the opportunity to freely promote their ongoing work and also encourage more volunteers to get involved with a range of activities – which might be fun on one of our quirky holidays – from apple picking, to tree planting, and pruning parties. Of course, we couldn’t not mention the pressing events which take place up and down the length and breadth of the country too!
At the beginning of the year, PTES unveiled FruitFinder, a database – the first online version of its kind – which lists every variety of orchard fruit that is currently grown in the British Isles from apples and pears, mulberries, and much, much more! This provides a means for orchard owners, gardeners and cider-makers to locate relevant nurseries that sell fruit, or pinpoint grafting material of rare heritage varieties.
PTES also coordinates an orchard grant scheme which, in the last year, has distributed enough grafting kits to plant over 1,500 trees in traditional orchards.
For more information on finding community orchards, learning how to set one up in your area, or to add an existing community orchard to the PTES interactive map, head over to www.ptes.org/community-orchards.