SUFFOLK TRADITIONAL ORCHARD GROUP
 

Aims

To record and protect old orchard sites; to promote the new planting of traditional orchard fruit and nut varieties; and to preserve and disseminate the practice, cultural and historical value of orchards through education and publication.

Activities

  • Identifying and recording old and modern orchards managed in a traditional manner in Suffolk.
  • Researching and recording the history, landscape, practice and culture of traditional fruit and nut cultivation in Suffolk through archival and oral research.
  • Assisting in the restoration and replanting of suitable orchard sites in Suffolk.
  • Establishing county collections of traditional Suffolk fruit and nut varieties in new or restored traditional orchards
  • Engaging in activities that disseminate the history and culture of orchards in Suffolk through publications and education.

See our New and Old Orchards for Suffolk Project below for more information

NEWS

Assistance for communities to buy land for orchards

The Community Land Advisory Service has produced a free set of documents to help community groups find land for orchards and to reach good agreements about using land. The Community Land Advisory Service is a not-for-profit organisation. They provide free advice, have an in-house land agent and can help with issues like finding a site, finding out who owns land, getting a lease, assessing a site or community land purchase.  For more information visit www.communitylandadvice.org.uk

STOG's summer 2014 newsletter out now!

Click here > (PDF 2 MB) to download our latest newsletter. We have lots of interesting articles for you, including: How to define a traditional orchard; An outline of the STOG buying scheme; Orchard Biodiversity – Does that Include Pests?; STOG at the Suffolk Show; and The Future of STOG. Our culinary historian, Monica Askay, gives us some recipe ideas for cherries, Anglo-Saxon inspired ideas for fruit dishes, a recipe for mulberry gin and some ideas on how to use dried apples. And please do come along to our events - see p.1.

Scroll down to find previous issues under Newsletters.

Advice Notes available

STOGAN 6 Cobnuts in Suffolk, published 29 March 2013.

STOGAN 9 Suffolk Traditional orchard ground flora - natural and planted published 7 Dec 2012.

See these and our other Advice notes - Advice Notes page >

Newsletters

Spring 2014 available here > (PDF 4 MB) Content Sarah Day’s walk around Dunwich and Minsmere taking in several apple and pear trees. You can do the walk too - there’s a map and text to follow; Paul’s article on how other seaside fruit trees fared after the storm surge; apple juicing; pollination, pruning and silver-leaf in plums; and recipe swaps and historical fruit recipes from our food historian, Monica Askay. Paul has added some fascinating botanical comments to this article.

Autumn 2013 available  here > (PDF 2 MB) Contentearwigs in orchards, more about fruit leathers, a history of Christmas food, interesting fruit at plum and apple days in 2013, orchard tooth - a rare fungus, the cherry Polstead Black, Suffolk orchard survey update, cobnuts, receipt swaps, experiments with mulberries and  fruit trees by the sea.

Summer 2013 available here (PDF 2MB). Content: Monica Askay's new 'Recipe Swap' and Fruit Leathers; Summer tree fruit (mulberrys); the mysteries of the Norfolk Beefing apple; Sour cherries, Morellos, Amarelles and Dukes; apples in July and August; new information on the quince membrillo / marmalade discussion; update on Suffolk Traditional Orchard survey.

Spring 2013 available here (PDF 2.6 MB). Content: Pear trees in bloom, Programme of events, Cobnuts in Suffolk and the Kentish Cobnut Association, Beefings and Biffins by Monica Askay, What's in a name (Coalman apple), STOG's orchard tree buying scheme, Opportunities to graft fruit trees, Common cobnuts in Suffolk, Sour cherries, Morellos and Dukes and the sequence of tree blossom in spring.

January 2013 available here (PDF 807Kb ). Content: An apple called Rattle, Programme of events, Advice Notes & Mini-Monographs available, Seaside fruit trees, Suffolk orchard collections, Marmalade in the C16th (and recipe) by Monica Askay, Can you help us?

April 2012 available here (PDF 525 Kb). Content: Orchard survey progress, Success for workshops, Orchard wildlife, Apple dumpltings recipe, Scattered Orchards Project, STOG plum day, New orchards, Apple / autumn fruit days, Fruit identification, Events, Projects, Suffolk fruit collections, STOG Advice Notes.

January 2012 available here (PDF 1.0 MB). Content: Launch of New and Old Orchards for Suffolk, project aims, why orchards are important, events and workshops.

The Kentish Cobnut Association has a very interesting newsletter. For further information visit the Kentish Cobnut Association website >

New and Old Orchards for Suffolk Project

In the early 1900s, Suffolk had more than 6,000 orchards; click on the link to see the map Old Orchard Sites in Suffolk map (PDF 250Kb). Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group now has an exciting 3-year project, New and Old Orchards for Suffolk, which aims to record how many of those orchards remain, their potential for restoration and the locations of any newly planted, traditionally managed orchards. We are also 'ground-truthing' the People's Trust for Endangered Species aerial orchard survey.  

All of this is only possible thanks to an army of volunteers. If you'd like to be involved, we can train you in how to survey orchards in our FREE workshops, dates and venues advised in the STOG newsletter. You don't need any previous knowledge, just bring enthusiasm!

New and Old Orchards for Suffolk is researching and providing information on several aspects of orchards:

Oral histories of orchards 
Collecting and recording stories about Suffolk's orchards, enabling future generations to understand more of our county's rich and fascinating past.

Culinary history 
Would you like to know more about how to select, store and cook medlars, culinary pears, quince, sour cherries, bullace, cobnuts and other produce? We'll be sharing recipes and information about these widely grown, but little appreciated fruits and nuts.

Advice on amenity orchards 
If you'd like to plant a community orchard with traditional varieties, contact us to find out how we can help.

Suffolk Traditional Orchard advice notes and mini-monographs
We have a range of publications to assist practical planting of orchards and increase knowledge of Suffolk fruit and nut varieties. Go to our Advice Notes page >

Training workshops 
Surveyor courses, grafting techniques, fruit identification.

About Orchards

Why are orchards important?

Orchards are important for wildlife, people and our heritage. The majority of orchards in Suffolk are small, often less than 1 acre, and are often managed very little. It is this very lack of management that makes them havens for wildlife, encouraging the presence of mammals, birds and invertebrates and allowing mosses, lichens and wildflowers to flourish. Orchards may contain many varieties of fruits and nuts which are no longer commercially available, so they are an important source of varieties. Orchards are also part of our natural heritage, a social and cultural legacy that is bound up with the people and diverse landscapes of the county.

The orchards of Suffolk

Every county has its own local traditional orchard form and Suffolk has several very different traditions. For example, the tall standard cherry trees in parkland settings in south Suffolk; ancient cobnut coppices; and numerous small farmhouse orchards with a rich mix of crop trees. There are few large commercial orchards.

Orchards and wildlife

Traditional orchards often have a rich mix of habitats such as standing fruit and nut trees, decaying and dead wood, grassland, scrub, ponds and hedges. Many Suffolk orchards have been abandoned or hardly managed for decades, escaping the chemical spraying routines that make orchards virtually sterile. This variety of habitats is not only enjoyable for people; it allows different species to take advantage of a range of food types and hiding places. For example a Sturmer apple tree may be only 60 years old, but have the rot holes, decay and habitats of a veteran tree and so be attractive to several types of invertebrate.

To see photos of some of the species associated with orchards in Suffolk visit our Priority Species Gateway page >

Further information

People's Trust for Endangered Species

Natural England TIN020 Traditional Orchards, Orchards and Wildlife

CONTACT US:

Gen Broad, Project Manager
Suffolk Traditional Orchard Group
c/o SBRC
Ipswich Museum
High Street
Ipswich IP1 3QH
email: gen.broad@suffolk.gov.uk
Tel: 01473 264308 or 07894 885337 

Lukeswood Open Day 2013

"STOG looks forward to working with new orchard groups."

Cobnuts found in Ixworth Thorpe

EVENTS

For STOG events see our Summer 2014 newsletter

Sun 19th Oct : SWT Redgrave & Lopham Fen Apple day 10am - 4pm Fruit ID by STOG

Fri 14th Nov : What's the future for orchards - old and new?
Three Counties Showground >  Tel: 01684 584924

February 2015 - to be arranged. Traditional Orchard Conference

STOG at the Suffolk Show 2014
Monica Askay, Gen Broad, Paul Read

Charles Partridge’s cherry orchard at Lower Layham, being restored under Higher Level Stewardship. The site has part buried dead cherry tree trunks as a habitat for beetles and is home to stag beetles

The fun of a fruit tree grafting course SWT Foxburrow Farm April 2012

Wordwell Hall orchard planted in the 1940s by the Women's Land Army, now restored under Higher Level Stewardship

White-letter Hairstreak

White-letter Hairstreak, one of the butterflies found in orchards.
Photo: Chris Upson