The orchards at Brockhampton are a rather magical part of the ancient estate. From springtime blossom to fruit-laden branches in autumn they have provide much pleasure for visitors and have done for many decades.
The orchards at Brockhampton are thought to be around sixty years old which makes them incredibly special as many orchards are grubbed-up and replaced with more profitable crops after twenty-or-so years. This is something we never intend to do, the orchards are entwined into Brockhampton’s story. Over the past year we have planted a third orchard after raising enough funds to do so, Brockhampton now has the largest orchards in the whole of the National Trust.
Herefordshire is well known for its heritage orchards, producing excellent ciders which are sold all over the world. However, modern trends have seen cider sales decrease and as a result, orchards are being removed and replaced with crops. Not only are they a beautiful backdrop for walks, picnics and fruit harvesting but they also provide amazing habitats for local wildlife and are being destroyed at an alarming rate. The combination of trees, hedgerow, grassland and deadwood and associated ponds or streams provide a diverse myriad of habitats in which many creatures come to rely on.
" Traditional orchards are havens for biodiversity. They offer both food and shelter to thousands of species some of which have high conservation priority."
There is a colony of native black honeybees in the first orchard at Brockhampton and we would like to introduce more over time. These hard-working little bees help pollinate the fruit trees and were thought to have been extinct just one hundred years ago. Poor weather, parasites, pesticides, disease and starvation have all been implicated in honeybee deaths which is why we are striving to support these vital pollinators who are well adapted to the changeable British climate unlike their cousin the European honeybee.
For many centuries, orchards have been the inspiration behind many beautiful poems and literature, as seasonal beauties of the English landscape, special places for many people. The orchards at Brockhampton provide a space for all communities to enjoy, taking pleasure in the old-age past time of fruit picking and walking through the changing seasons.
The apples are now ready to harvest here so we invite you to come along and fill a bag full of heritage varieties. We are asking for a donation of £2.50 per bag and all proceeds from this will go directly back into caring for our special orchards.