Orchards, Trees & Orchard Produce
The Lancashire Apples Project involves the Northern Fruit Group, Lancaster Seedsavers, the Middlewood Trust and Lancashire County Council, which has funded the exercise. In 2005, 200 apple trees were grafted at Middlewood near Lancaster. Most were of historic northern varieties, which were offered for sale to the public in Lancaster in February 2006. Such was the success of the project that it has been repeated - more local varieties have been grafted and will be available in early 2007.
Lancashire County Council Green Partnership Award grant money is aiding the restoration of the former Whittingham Hospital Orchard near Preston. Apart from pruning work involving older trees, two rows of apples, Keswick Codlin and Golden Spire have been planted in the gaps.
Orchard Survey work has been carried out in the Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanting Natural Beauty in the north of the county (and a tiny part of the old Westmorland) with the aid of a Sustainable Development Grant and a booklet charting the orchard heritage of the area was published in the 2007. Preliminary research has led to the discovery of two 'missing' varieties, Irish Reinette and Kane's Seedling (subject to confirmation) and there are several 'mystery' apples, which have yet to be identified. The booklet is called '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, tel: +44(0)1524 761034.
At Leighton Hall within the AONB, a collection of northern apples is being assembled for display as cordons within the walled garden. Some of these trees have been kindly donated by Hilary Wilson of the Northern Fruit Group. For further information about the above activities, contact Phil Rainford, tel: +44(0)1772 712909 or e-mail p.f.rain [at] btinternet.com.
Creative Minds (above) is a group of people living in Eccleston, Chorley, all over the age of 50, who enjoy creative activities. Membership at present is 16 women. With funding from Chorley Borough Council, The Countryside Agency and Lancashire Environment Action Fund, Creative Minds put together an exhibition for Apple Day in 2002. They write:
"Eccleston was once known as The Evesham of the North and until the 1950s supplied Wigan Market exclusively with many varieties of apples. Maps of Eccleston and Heskin of 1893 show the locations of over 40 orchards and we are now visiting the sites to document remaining trees, some so far gone that we may try grafting from them. Environmental expert Duncan Ashcroft is showing us what we should look for in the orchards including woodpeckers' haunts, linnets and goldfinches, and artist Bernie Velvick is sharing the skills which will make an eye-catching public exhibition. We've been making paper recently to use for recipes, poems and legends. Reminiscence plays a big part in the project, helping to trace occupants of the houses and farms which had thriving orchards - all reduced by development and changes to dairy farming. We want to be able to buy more English apples and raise awareness of the nutritional value of home grown, untreated apples which have not travelled thousands of miles. We shall visit orchards in Lancashire and Cheshire to see them in all their glory later in the year. Eccleston is a Green Village with an office - The Green Centre - for Eccleston Comunity Environment Trust, a Millennium Green and a textile Parish Map completed some years ago".
Creative Minds discovered so much that they produced a book, Eccleston Apple Blossoms. For a copy contact Joyce Morris, Co-ordinator, by e-mail joyce [at] hawkswood24.fsnet.co.uk, or telephone +44(0)1257 452069. Joyce is also the contact for the new Fruit Group that meets monthly in Eccleston and has a programme of events planned for the year.
The photo at the top of this page is of Norton apple orchard, and comes from the Local Heritage Initiative web-site.
Apple Day Events
Where to Get Help
Orchards and Community Orchards to visit
Where to buy fruit trees
Some Lancashire Fruit