Orchard Revival Project in the news

07 October 2018

TBI director Julian Paren has drawn attention to a BBC news item featuring Scotland's Orchard Revival Project, directed by Dr Crispin Hayes, and funded by Scottish Natural Heritage.  The project aims to reverse the decline in fruit growing in Scotland, initially by a Scotland-wide orchard survey carried out last year, for which the late David Reid was an enthusiast and local organiser, and in which a number of TBI members participated. 

As a result of the survey   "Just over 880 Scottish orchards - defined as containing at least five fruit trees - were found to be intact.  On a positive note, researchers found dozens of new orchards which had previously not featured on their radar.  But they also discovered that many larger mature sites with "high cultural and biodiversity value" had been lost or abandoned.  Even areas of Scotland with a strong history of fruit-growing - such as the Clyde Valley and the Carse of Gowrie in Perthshire - have seen large swathes of fruit trees disappear from the landscape."

SNH, which is due to publish a report on the inventory later this month, believes the project will be "an important thread" in helping to deliver the Scottish government's Good Food Nation plans.  Woodland adviser Kate Holl says:

"Over the last decade or so there has been renewed interest in ensuring that our orchard legacy survives for the benefit of future generations.  By engaging with a wide range of people and communities, the project has raised awareness of traditional orchards and their biodiversity, cultural heritage and potential local food value.  These orchards are part of our living history, particularly when one considers that some of our oldest pear trees could have been planted before the Act of Union."

Read the full report.

We are part of the rapidly expanding worldwide Transition Towns movement. The Black Isle is a peninsula of about 100 sq miles ENE of Inverness in Scotland, UK.