Bid to save Warwickshire's traditional orchards - The Leamington Observer

Bid to save Warwickshire's traditional orchards

ORCHARDS in Warwickshire have been lost at an alarming rate over the past century – spelling bad news for nature .

The county has lost four out of five of its traditional orchards since the early 1900s, while England as a whole has lost more than half.

The National Trust is looking to reverse the trend and is now working to bring blossom back to landscapes with a commitment to plant 4million blossom trees and new traditional orchards on its land, including at the likes of Coughton Court near Alcester.

BlossomWatch, now in its second year, is the trust’s annual campaign to encourage people to enjoy and celebrate spring blossom, with the aim of embedding an annual cultural event similar to Japan’s ‘hanami’ in the UK.

It includes digital sharing of images as blossom sweeps up the land from south to north, and events and installations at National Trust places.

Tom Dommett, head of historic environment at the National Trust says: “Using cutting edge technology we now have a much better understanding of how we’ve managed landscapes in the past, which is invaluable when thinking about how to tackle the nature and biodiversity crisis that we are facing, and restoring nature.

“For hundreds of years orchards were a defining feature in many places, part of the fabric of everyday life. Their loss affects local culture, how we all experience landscapes, and it means fewer opportunities for people to enjoy the beauty and spectacle of blossom today.

“The loss of traditional orchards is also nature’s loss – these orchards can be great places for wildlife like flies and bees, with the gnarled trunks and branches creating the perfect home for rare species such as the noble chafer beetle and attract patrolling bats.

“Often the grass below these trees is rich in flowers, supporting an abundance of insects The web of wildlife that orchards can support, and the benefits to people are vitally important so we want encourage more people to plant more blossom trees to help nature and to recognize the value they have to our landscapes and culture.”

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