Horsey's Heritage Apple Orchard

Close up shot of two red apples hanging on an apple tree in an orchard

Green leaves are turning golden, the wind is brisker, and ruby red apples are ripening. It is the season of the apple harvest and there are seven varieties of apple trees that can be discovered in the orchard.

Traditional orchards have been a part of the British landscape for centuries, and while they are man-made in origin, those that escaped the intensification of agriculture that took place after the Second World War have become havens for a wide range of wildlife.  Even small orchards like the one at Horsey Windpump in Norfolk, are buzzing with life.  

Apple orchard at Horsey Windpump
Picture of apple orchard with a row of five apple trees on the left and five apple trees on the right with a cut grassed pathway running between them.
Apple orchard at Horsey Windpump

Horsey's orchard is a refuge for wildlife in search of food and shelter and its wildflower meadow provides the perfect habitat.  In summer the orchard teems with insect life; butterflies, hoverflies, bees, grasshoppers and roesel’s bush-crickets. Common lizards stalk spiders in the long grass and nauthusius’ pipistrelle bats hunt for moths and midges at night.  The winter months do not remain quiet either with regular visits from muntjac and Chinese water deer, hunting barn owls, and family parties of long-tailed tits.  There is something to see all year round. 

Two Admiral Apples from the orchard
Close up of two green red apples in a tree
Two Admiral Apples from the orchard

The apple trees in the orchard are all of Norfolk heritage.  They are a mixture of cooking and dessert apples and consist of: Happisburgh, Norfolk beauty, Norfolk royal, winter breedon, Norfolk green, roland, admiral, and jordan’s weeping.  While apples are one of the easiest fruits to grow, they still require care throughout the year.  You can do this by following our ranger's top tips below:

Sprinkle mulch around the base of the tree and replace or repair the guards protecting the bark.

Water the trees during prolong periods of dry weather and cut away dead or overgrown branches to increase apple growth during the autumn.

Pick the ripened apples from the tree ready that are ready for eating or cooking.

Prune the trees by cutting away dead, damaged or diseased branches, but make sure to clean the tools between each tree to prevent contamination.  Once again, repair or replace any damaged guard and place mulch around the base of the trees to protect them from the frost.

Good luck!