Fife Coast and Countryside Trust needs your help in surveying Fife's fruit trees and ochards.
This project builds on the tremendous resurgence in interest in orchards and local fruit produce in North Fife and surrounding areas.
Sadly 95% of traditional orchards in the UK have been lost in the last 50 years as we have become increasingly reliant on cheap foreign imports of fruits and fruit juices.
Orchards are a valuable resource in terms of:
- Biodiversity – traditional orchards support a large number of species particularly insects, birds and bats
- Local food – apples, pears, plums, damsons – harvesting these locally generates huge savings in food miles
- Healthy eating
- Food Heritage
- Cultural Heritage
- Newburgh Orchards – Newburgh probably has the highest concentration of surviving orchards in Scotland and is home to the “Lindores Pear” originally grown by monks at Lindores Abbey.
- Falkland Palace Orchards – at least 150 years old
With support from Forestry Commission Scotland, Fife Council, Fife Environment Trust, Leader in Fife and by working with partners such as Newburgh Orchard Group and National Trust Scotland at Falkland Palace, hardworking volunteers and local small-scale cider producers have delivered the following in 2009.
We have secured funding to commission a survey of traditional orchards in North Fife . The North of Fife lies opposite the Carse of Gowrie which is recognised as one of Scotland’s great orchard areas. Previous research has also documented the rich orchard heritage in Newburgh. There is some evidence that orchard culture permeated further into Fife and this is the focus of the study.
The rationale is to identify and locate traditional orchards focussing on orchards rather than individual trees. Large commercial orchards are not known to exist any longer in this area so the sort of orchards that are likely to be identified are those in walled or kitchen gardens of farms, country houses and ancient town houses.
So what else has been happening?
- 260 new organically grown fruit trees planted at 14 school and 5 community sites across Fife – apples, pears, plums, cherries all of traditional Scottish varieties or varieties suitable for growing in Scotland
- Purchase of apple mills and presses
- Project display at Big Tent 2009
- Apple juicing at Newburgh, Dunbog, Rathillet primary schools and Madras High School
- Apple days at Falkland Palace Orchard and Lochore Meadows Country Park
- Apple juicing at the Howe, Auchtermuchty (thanks here to Polly Murray)
- Apple picking and juicing with Falkland Primary School in Falkland Palace Orchard
- Apple juicing demonstration at Balmullo Flower show
- Apple juicing in Newburgh Community Orchard with Newburgh Orchard Group
- Moth nights in Falkland Palace Orchard and Newburgh Orchard – 57 species were recorded at Falkland palace in one night !
We continue to seek to work with groups and individuals to build on the enthusiasm generated to date with a view to establishing a thriving Orchard network in Fife and beyond.
Anyone with apples or pears to juice next year please get in touch. Our juicing equipment is available for hire or come along to one of our juicing events.
(No personal details will be divulged as a result of you taking part in the survey)