The Orchard at The Firs

Our orchard at The Firs is relatively small but holds over 60 trees including a wide variety of cookers, eaters and cider apples as well as a few pear trees including the famous Worcester Black pears.

Apple Pressing day

Our orchard produces a wonderful selection of apples from August to December; these include sweet dessert, cooking and cider apples. We also have a few Worcester Black pear trees which are becoming a popular choice for local Gin producers. This year our apple juicing weekend will be held on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 October to coincide with our half term activities. So please do come along and taste our wares and join in with all the action.

Pressing Apples at The Firs
Dawne pressing apples
Pressing Apples at The Firs

Our orchard grows more than just apple and pear trees

Our orchard grass is managed closely and only mown when necessary, the grass is left to go to flower and seed over the whole season, this enables us to cultivate a range of wild flowers including 3 species of wild orchids - which we’re encouraging to naturalise. This wonderful environment encourages birds, bees and butterflies to visit each day, to feast on the nectar within.

Wildflowers thriving in the orchard
Wildflowers thriving in the orchard
Wildflowers thriving in the orchard

If you get up close to our trees at The Firs you’ll see there are many different types of bark covering their trunks. Some are deeply textured whilst others are very smooth, some are covered in Lichen while others are hosts to Mistletoe and Ivy. Take your time and hug a tree, they are all different and are not at all just brown with green leaves!

Orchids growing in our Orchard
Orchid growing in the Orchard
Orchids growing in our Orchard
Ivy growing up the tree
Ivy growing up the tree
Ivy growing up the tree

If you sit quietly in our woodland, orchard or any of our open spaces you may be lucky enough to see ants marching in a line from the ground up into the tree trunks to the branches above or ladybugs basking in the sunshine whilst looking for aphids. It’s a natural metropolis ready to be investigated by all ages.

Coloured Lichen growing on the trees at The Firs
Lichen on bark
Coloured Lichen growing on the trees at The Firs

Our Orchard Project

We started on an exciting mission in 2018 to discover the varieties of apples and pears that are growing successfully in our orchard.

All the trees have been plotted on an orchard map and compared to an original planting plan from 2000, many of these trees were replaced and so the mystery began.
 

 

Tempting red juicy apples
tight cluster of red apples
Tempting red juicy apples

The habit/growth of the tree, the appearance of the leaves, the shape of the fruit these could be round, conical or oblong, the fruit buds and the blossom plus flowering time were all factors that we used to aid identification.

Apples with a view
view of the countryside from the orchard
Apples with a view


To date, we have worked with local experts who were able to advise on local varieties -
Karen Humphries from the ‘Three counties traditional orchard project’ and her orchard champions including Wade Muggleton the Senior Greenspace Officer in Worcs, were all able to share their expertise and guidance to enable us to accurately name over 40 of the trees.

 

Dawne Middleton identifying apples
Dawne Middleton identifying apples
Dawne Middleton identifying apples

We’ve created name labels for these trees and all visitors can now share in our path of discovery – please take a walk around our orchard and look at the shape of each tree, leaf, blossom and apple then learn a new name. Some are rare varieties, some discovered and named many years ago, but all are interesting.
There are also a few un-named, so any budding tree detectives are welcome to come and join our orchard team, just pop along.