'Reimagining' Brockhampton's lost orchards

Project
New orchards

Did you know our traditional orchards are in decline? It’s estimated that around 40% of Herefordshire’s orchards have disappeared in the last 100 years.

Over the past three years, we have been working with our local community to restore three lost orchards at Brockhampton. Across 21 acres, over 700 trees have been planted, including field maple, hazel, elder and blackthorn, as well as many varieties of apple, damson, pear, plum and quince. Each one has been chosen to provide the best ecological mix for pollination and habitat development to encourage the orchard to establish, grow and flourish. 

As well as planting hundreds of fruit trees, together we have transformed grazing pasture into lowland wildflower meadows that support biodiversity, creating spaces where people can connect with nature through the seasons.

Around 3km of accessible paths have also been installed, which start in the historic damson orchard near the manor house and continue on into the newly replanted fields. You can follow the winding path through the original ‘reimagined orchard’ which was designed and created by artist Walter Jack, in collaboration with Rathbone Partnership, back in 2019. Walter Jack designed the first orchard by creating five chambers which will eventually be surrounded by lowland meadow. Here you can discover unusual and rare varieties of fruit, specially chosen to tell the story of the eating apple, from its origins in Kazakhstan through to its well-known and traditional use as the Herefordshire cider apple.

The apple core tells the story of the eating apple
The apple core tells the story of the eating apple
The apple core tells the story of the eating apple

At the beginning of 2022, we installed 'orchard rooms', where your little adventurers can now run, jump and explore on the natural play trail and see if they can spot all of the animal benches and sculptures which have been inspired by the wide variety of wildlife which call the orchard home. 

You can also step aboard the ‘Herefordshire Bull’ Trow which now takes centre stage in the restored orchards. Trow boats were used to transport goods, such as fruit, to and from Herefordshire along the Wye and Severn rivers. This replica boat was built by T. Nielson & Co and was kindly gifted to the National Trust by the Herefordshire Community Foundation. Climb aboard the Trow and imagine you are sailing down the river with your cargo of orchard fruit.

Climb aboard the 'Herefordshire Bull' Trow
Herefordshire Bull Trow
Climb aboard the 'Herefordshire Bull' Trow

Generous support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Arts Council England, as well as funding from Sport England, helped to kick start this project. With their help and yours we have improved the quality of land at the heart of the Brockhampton Estate. We have created an exciting space that can be enjoyed by everyone for generations to come. 

Thanks to Sport England for contributing to the accessible paths
Brockhampton apple core Sport England logo
Thanks to Sport England for contributing to the accessible paths

Latest updates

13 May 22

Orchard play trail launched

The orchard play trail is now open! Follow the accessible paths to explore the new apple orchards. Run, jump and skip around the orchard rooms, which contain a variety of natural play equipment to enjoy.

Boys standing on stump circle in natural play area

07 May 22

Tree planting is complete

We have completed the planting of trees in the new orchards. Over 700 trees have been planted in total, including hedging trees, such as field maple, hazel, elder and blackthorn, as well as many varieties of apple, damson, pear, plum, mulberry and quince. Join us on Saturday 21 May, between 11am and 3pm, to celebrate the launch of the new orchards at Brockhampton, with music, talks and much more.

We have now completed the planting of the new orchards

28 Apr 22

Orchard animal sculptures

Can you spot the tree loving animals that have taken over the old and the new orchards at Brockhampton? These brilliant sculptures depict some of the animals that will benefit from the fruit trees that have been planted here.

Badger sculpture in Brockhampton's orchards