One of the biggest traditional orchards in the area was saved from the Hanson plc diggers when it was excluded from the quarry development plans about 15 years ago. It has now been abandoned as an orchard in the name of wildlife conservation with no active management or rights of access. Many experts including Natural England believe that biodiversity can flourish alongside an actively managed traditional orchard. Traditional orchards are now accepted as a priority habitat in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Many of the rarer insects, birds, fungi, mosses and lichens to be found in traditional orchards rely on some level of active management especially of the underlying herbage, whether it is grazing or mowing.
We believe we need more traditional orchards, so do let us know if you know of any local abandoned orchards so we can try to encourage some sort of active management.