Orchards East is an exciting new HLF funded project to survey orchards in the East of England region. Essex Wildlife Trust Biological Records Centre is working with other records centres in the region to map and survey known orchard sites as part of this three year project.
The Landscape Group in the School of History at the University of East Anglia has been awarded National Lottery Funding to build on the work of the Suffolk Traditional Orchards Group (STOG), to survey orchards and improve the understanding of traditional orchard management and history. Working across Bedfordshire, Cambridge, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk, the project will recruit and train members of the community to survey local orchards. They, and other volunteers, will receive training in traditional orchard management – helping to halt the decline of these vital skills.
Essex Wildlife Trust Biological Records Centre is currently involved in the first phase of the project which involves mapping historic orchard sites from the 2nd Edition OS maps of the early 20th Century. The second phase of the project will involve volunteer surveyors visiting sites to find out more, and events to raise understanding of orchards in the region.
other partners include the East of England Apples and Orchards Project (EEAOP), Bedford and Luton Orchard Group (BLOG), Cambridgeshire Orchard Group (COG), Hertfordshire Orchard Initiative, Natural England, PTES and the county Wildlife Trusts.
The Orchards East inaugural conference was held on 8th July 2017. The next phase of the project will be launched in Essex in spring 2018, more information can be found on the Orchards East website: https://www.uea.ac.uk/orchards-east.