Croome’s orchard has a mixture of young trees planted by staff and volunteers over the past 15 years, as well as older trees which hint at the use of the land over the past 300 years.
At Croome we have several hundred fruit trees which are mainly located near our visitor centre in an area called Sandy Orchard. The older trees are mostly varieties of cider apple; in fact we have records to show that workers would have been paid in cider at one point so there would have been many more cider apple trees than exist now.
We have re-planted over 100 apple trees since 2000, and chosen local varieties appropriate to the period such as the cookers Warner’s King from late 1700s, Wagener (1791), Bramley’s Seedling (1809) and dessert apples Ashmead’s Kernel (1700), Pitmaston Pineapple (1785), and Worcester Pearmain (1873). We have also planted some plums, Pershore (Yellow Egg), Victoria and Warwickshire Drooper, as well as pears including the local variety Worcester Black.
We have a plan of the estate drawn by John Snape in 1796 which shows the position of the orchards.
Cider apples were traditionally grown here, but we also have several local eating varieties of apples and pears some which date back to the eighteenth century such as Worcester Black Pear, Worcester Pearmain, Ashmead’s Kernel and Pitmaston Pineapple.
We have a group of volunteers dedicated to working in the orchard, they carry out all the pruning as well as the clearing around the trees and mulching, and in Autumn the fruit picking.
The trees themselves are ecologically very important and the leaf-mining micro-moth, celypha wodiana, has been found living in the mistletoe in some of the older trees in the orchard. Further trees have planted nearby and we have encouraged the growth of mistletoe on these new trees as further habitat for them.