Rejuvenation and management of existing mature fruit trees is urgently needed. According to The National Trust, 60% of England's traditional orchards have disappeared since the 1950's as a result of development pressures, conversion of land to other uses and small-scale producers suffering at the hands of the economics of fruit growing. This has ultimately led to the neglect of orchards. As a result of this orchard decline, many rare varieties of fruit - some unique to their localities - have been lost forever and many more are under threat.
We have partnered with ten custodians of neglected orchards around London since 2010 to help restore the orchards to productivity. Restoration work helps to extend the life of these valuable habitats, meaning we can enjoy their majestic presence and fruit for longer. It can also allow the associated wildlife time to move on to more recently planted fruit trees as we reinstate the orchard, allowing habitat continuity.
Check out a presentation of before and after slides of restoration work from 2011/12 here
Check out some pictures of Kingston here, and short films about Bethlem Royal Hospital:
The London Orchard Project did a fantastic job in helping us to restore a neglected old orchard in Claybury Park, and whilst doing so trained our staff and volunteers to ensure the orchard's sensitive management continues. The staff were friendly and professional. Without their help, the trees would have been left to die out; now they have been given a new lease of life and we can look forward to harvesting the benefits! Julia Coulson, Nature Conservation Ranger, Vision Redbridge 2012
A MASSIVE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who helped yesterday - I was amazed and delighted by how much had been achieved by the end of the day. It's great to be working with The London Orchard Project to create a resource that should be enjoyed by our staff, students and local community groups (which include the local Forest School) for years to come and which will also increase campus biodiversity. Many thanks to Kath, Russell and Lewis for making this possible. Jonathan, Roehampton, December 2011
I just thought I’d drop a quick email to say how delighted we are at the change in our old orchard since you helped us to prune it in January. After not flowering for the last 3 years, it’s now in full blossom. It really has been given a whole new lease of life! Please do pass on our thanks to everyone. They were all a brilliant source of knowledge on the day. Lynsey, Dorich House, Kingston
"We could not have tackled our orchard restoration project without the support and guidance of the London Orchard Project, Their involvement made it all happen and their vision and technical expertise turned a difficult challenge into a resounding success. We now have a wonderful rejuvenated old orchard which can serve our community for many years to come" Peter, Bethlem Royal Hospital, Bromley