Orchards in the South West

Across the South West there are orchards aplenty cared for by the National Trust. As well as great places to see spring blossom, apples ripening and even gather windfalls, these orchards are important habitats for nature. Ecologically, they're great for capturing carbon, stabilising the soil, and retaining water. Older fruit trees are fantastic hosts for lichen and wildlife. Take a look some of the many places that traditional orchards are thriving with the help of rangers and gardeners.

A girl sitting beneath a tree filled with blossom in the orchard at Cotehele, Cornwall

Keeping traditional orchards blossoming

Traditional orchards provide a perfect home for many birds, bees and insects but worryingly their number is in sharp decline. We’re determined to do what we can to preserve and protect this rare and valuable habitat and the wildlife that depends on it.

Apples and press in Trelissick orchard

Trelissick's orchard 

Fruit production has long played a key part in the history of Trelissick; during the 19th century, the walled garden became known as ‘the fruit garden of Cornwall.’ Now, almost every tree in the collection is different from the next, making the orchard an important genetic pool, as well as giving it a wealth of local character.

Apples growing in the orchard at Hidcote

The orchard at Hidcote 

Hidcote is an Arts and Crafts garden in the north Cotswolds, a stone’s throw from Stratford-upon-Avon. In the kitchen garden you'll find crops ripening to be used in the café and apples in the orchard.

Gathering the harvest at Barrington Court

Apples in the orchard at Parke, Devon

Parke's orchard 

The orchard at Parke, found on the outskirts of the small Devon market town of Bovey Tracey, is not only home to 150 apple trees; you'll also find three rare breeds of sheep grazing there.

The orchard at Lytes Cary Manor

The orchard at Lytes Cary Manor 

A mixture of mature fruit trees, including pears, meddlers, quince, apples, and crab apples grow in the productive orchard at Lytes Cary Manor. Feel free to help yourself to an apple or two when they're in season.

Snowshill Manor in Autumn

Snowshill's orchard 

With 50 different types of apple at Snowshill, autumn is a celebration of this humble fruit. Every year apples from the orchard are available to take home in return for a donation, which helps to care for the orchard into the future.

Apples growing in the orchard at Hardy's Cottage

Explore the orchard at Thomas Hardy's birthplace 

Discover the apple trees which Thomas Hardy and his siblings loved to climb, and which later inspired his poetry and prose.

A pile of apples straight from the tree

The orchard at Tyntesfield 

Tyntesfield's current orchard started to take shape in March 2014 and continues to evolve, with the planting a variety of fruits, from apples, pears and mulberries to walnuts and damsons quince.

Den building in the orchard at Lydford Gorge

Lydford Gorge's orchard 

At Lydford Gorge, the orchard is not only a place to see apples growing; there's a children’s play area with zip-wire to be found in the orchard at the Devil’s Cauldron entrance. In the autumn there's an apple day to join, where you can press apples into tasty juice to try for yourselves.

Pears growing on the tree at Hidcote Manor Garden, Gloucestershire in September

The orchards at Dyrham Park 

Next to the main garden at Dyrham Park you'll find Nichol's perry pear orchard. In the autumn you can help to pick the windfall pears to send off to make perry cider.

Apples on a tree in autumn

Compton Castle's orchards 

At Compton Castle a variety cider and desert apples and pears grow, including 'Paignton Marigold,' a bittersweet cider apple which originated from nearby Paignton as long ago as 1834. Please don't be tempted to eat any of the fruit; the harvest is destined for apple pressing and the donor family that still live in the castle.

Apples on a tree and hand sculpture in Mother Orchard at Cotehele, Cornwall

The orchards at Cotehele 

At Cotehele the Old Orchard and the Mother Orchard are filled with a huge variety of productive trees. The apple trees planted in the Mother Orchard were specially chosen because they are local varieties and are adapted to the growing conditions in the South West. This orchard homes 125 different types of apple tree, each with its own distinctive flavour and character.

Autumn at Montacute House

Montacute's orchard 

The Garden Orchard on the South Drive is one of the less formal areas of Montacute garden, which makes it an ideal for running around and climbing trees.