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We are very pleased to be working with South Devon AONB on a new community orchards project which has been successful in securing Heritage Lottery, public and private sector funding.

The project will run from November 2015 until June 2017 and there are many exciting activities, training, networking and skill sharing opportunities planned.

For more information, see the South Devon AONB website



Saving Traditional Orchards

The revival of interest in orchards owes much to the pioneering work of the organisation Common Ground who promote the importance of locality and local culture and aim to stimulate new and imaginative approaches to problems in the countryside. In 1989 Common Ground published a study of orchards in which they suggested ways of saving old orchards and creating new city, school and community orchards. In Devon, Common Ground estimated that 90% of the orchards had disappeared since 1945. With the dramatic decline in traditional orchards, we have lost many local apple varieties - some are unique to one parish, or even one farm. the loss of one old orchard can mean the extinction of a variety - each a part of our local heritage. Although only a few commercial varieties of apple are on sale in the shops, Britain's National Apple Register lists over 6000 varieties of apple and in Devon many more have been identified. Over recent years orchard campaigners, including Orchard Link, have grafted these rare varieties onto new rootstock, ensuring a future for our heritage of apples.

The Role of Orchard Link

Orchard Link was established in 1998 by a group of Orchard campaigners and advisors from Devon's local authorities, cidermakers and orchard owners.

Orchard Link was set up in response to the wastage of apple crops from small traditional orchards and the needs of orchard owners for help and support. Whilst local and national orchard campaigns have encouraged people to plant and restore orchards, there is still little support for those doing the work, in terms of advise and training. Until now there was no provision for collecting and using the fruit which small traditional orchards produce.

Orchard Link aims to support orchard owners and enthusiasts, to ensure that orchards are a sustainable element of our landscape.

We offer our members:

The skills and know-how to manage traditional orchards to produce a useable and more viable crop
Advice on restoring old orchards - or planting new ones - with an emphasis on the use of local apple variaties
Access to a network of experts - including horticulturalists, cider makers, nurseries and conservationists
Opportunities to visit other members' orchards, exchange knowledge and ideas, to use and enjoy their orchards and apples
The chance to buy or sell surplus apples



Please read this urgent warning from Dr Angela Berrie of East Malling Research Centre regarding Fireblight, a particular problem in young orchards. Take action this week.

A new feature of our website is a recipe page  - inspired by the wonderful cakes, flapjacks and slices that members brought to the Annual gathering .

If you have a favourite or unusual recipe for apples, please let us know and we can add it to the website - pictures also welcome.  Please email to web@orchardlink.org.uk


We now have a Facebook page - please visit us at  http://www.facebook.com/Orchardlink  

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